Top lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is from the Congress party, said today that he will not represent TikTok after it was banned two days ago by India. "I won a case for them in Supreme Court a year ago, but don't intend to appear in this one," he said.
Mukul Rohatgi, who served as the country's Attorney General till 2017, has also reportedly turned down an offer from the Chinese app to appear on its behalf in court.
On Monday night, the government banned 59, mostly Chinese, mobile apps including Bytedance's TikTok and Tencent's WeChat, citing its need to protect India's "sovereignty and integrity." The strike against the China-linked apps comes after a border clash in Ladakh on June 15 turned fatal. 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the line of duty; China has refused to comment on its casualties but Indian sources say they were at least 50.
The ban creates a big stumbling block for Chinese firms such as Bytedance, which have bet large on one of the world's largest internet markets.
India is the biggest driver of TikTok app installations, accounting for 611 million lifetime downloads, or 30.3% of the total, according to some reports.
TikTok, known for short-form viral videos, said it will demonstrate its commitment to user security in talks with the government.
"TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government," said Nikhil Gandhi, the company's India chief, in a tweet on its official account. "Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so."
India said the banned apps have illegally shared data of Indian users that is stored in servers abroad and flagged the "mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India".
With inputs from agencies