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Delhi HC grants time to Whatsapp and Facebook to file responses on CCI's notices

·3 min read
Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi [India], July 30 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday granted time to Whatsapp and Facebook to file their responses over notices issued to them by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The Division Bench is hearing the petitions of Whatsapp and Facebook challenging the single-judge bench, which had dismissed their pleas challenging a CCI order for an investigation into the messaging app's new privacy policy.

The Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Friday granted time to petitioners Whatsapp and Facebook to file their response over notice issued to them by CCI that sought several details from them. The court adjourned the matter for August 27 due to the unavailability of Additional Solicitor General representing CCI in the matter.

The court granted time to petitioners, after Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for Whatsapp LLC informed the Court that "on one hand, we are insisting to file a response on CCI notices, and on the other hand CCI counsel is seeking adjournment in the matter for another date." Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Facebook in the matter.

Whatsapp was sent a notice on June 4 while Facebook was sent a notice on June 8 by CCI seeking information and responses to certain queries.

Earlier, the vacation bench of the Delhi High Court urged the DG, CCI to bear in mind that investigation against the appellant (WhatsApp and Facebook) is under judicial consideration before a Division Bench of this court." The bench also stated that in its view, there is no doubt that the issuance of impugned notice by the DG is a step in furtherance of the investigation commenced in the Suo-Motu case, in which investigation is a subject matter of the challenge in the present LPA. "we do not consider it appropriate to stay the operation of impugned notice dated 04.06.2021, at this stage..." said Delhi High Court Vacation Bench.

Facebook and Whastapp had approached the Division bench through an appeal-challenged single-judge bench order dismissing their pleas against the CCI decision.

The single bench of Delhi High Court on April 22 had dismissed Facebook and WhatsApp pleas challenging a CCI order for an investigation into the messaging app's new privacy policy.

The petitioners had challenged the March 24 order passed by CCI directing a probe into the new privacy policy and that the probe should be completed within 60 days. Facebook and WhatsApp said that since the issue of WhatsApp's privacy policy is being heard by the Supreme Court, High Court, therefore, there was no requirement of CCI to order the probe.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve and Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the petitioners and had told the court that CCI proceedings must be kept in abeyance as the matter is pending before Supreme Court and High Court.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi, who represented CCI in the matter, had earlier told the court that the matter is not of privacy but access to data and the Competition is going to deal with metadata. (ANI)

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