Delhi HC reserves order on Facebook, WhatsApp pleas challenging CCI order on new privacy policy

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on pleas by Facebook and WhatsApp challenging the Competition Commission of India's June 4 notice seeking certain information on the social media platform's new privacy policy.

WhatsApp and Facebook have urged the Delhi High Court to stay notice issued by the CCI on June 4 against messaging applications. The CCI has sought certain information on WhatsApp's new privacy policy.

WhatsApp urged the High Court to issue direction to authorities concerned not to take any coercive action against messaging applications till the next date of hearing.

A vacation bench of justices Anup Jairam Bhambhani and Justice Jasmeet Singh reserved the order after hearing the submission of both sides.

During the course of the hearing, the court asked Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, if he is in a position to say that from now till July 9, the CCI will not take any precipitate action. The High Court further asked if the CCI want to get into it even while legal challenges are pending.

ASG Aman Lekhi replied that he has received instructions that the report is not going to be submitted by July 9, in any case, so they may respond. ASG Lekhi assured only after the report is submitted any steps will follow and so no threat is hanging over their heads.

The fresh pleas were filed by Facebook and WhatsApp on an ongoing petition whereby the companies have challenged the single-judge bench order dismissing their pleas against the CCI decision.

The hearing in the Delhi High Court over the petitions of WhatsApp and Facebook challenging the Competition Commission of India (CCI) order for an investigation into the messaging app's new privacy policy.

Earlier, the Division Bench had issued notice to CCI in the matter.

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 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 the 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 the CCI proceedings must be kept in abeyance as the matter is pending before the Supreme Court and the 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 CCI is going to deal with metadata.

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