A two-judge bench led by Justice Deepak Gupta on Tuesday posted the hearings on a host of petitions related to social media message traceability to January next year.
"What is their liability?" Justice Gupta posited. "Are they obliged to decrypt for you? Or, can you do it if they allow you access to the information?"
The apex court said lacked the expertise to deal with such issues and would want the government to address them first.
Attorney General K K Venugopal said the social media intermediaries had no business to enter the country and carry on if they say that they can't decrypt information sought for by investigative agencies.
He said the investigative agencies were interested in accessing information related to cases of sedition and pornography among other crimes. The intermediaries cannot be allowed to make the law otiose, he argued.