Delhi High Court reserves order on WhatsApp, Facebook fresh Plea

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The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on a fresh plea by Facebook and WhatsApp seeking to put on hold a notice issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) asking them to submit certain documents in relation to the probe being conducted on WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.

A vacation bench of Justices Anup Jairam Bhambhani and Jasmeet Singh said, “We will pass an order. The matter will be listed on July 9”.

The court said it was sitting on a vacation bench, hence did not want to go into the merits of the case.

Pending case
The fresh application was made in a pending case filed by Facebook and WhatsApp challenging the CCI’s March 24 direction ordering a probe into WhatsApp’’s controversial new privacy policy.

Facebook and WhatsApp, in the fresh application, sought the intervention of the court to stay the CCI’s June 4 notice asking them to furnish certain information for the purpose of inquiry conducted by it.

Counsel for Facebook and WhatsApp submitted that the last date to respond to the notice was June 21.

The CCI, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aman Lekhi, opposed the application on the ground that furnishing of information would not lead to any order by the CCI at this stage of inquiry.

No threat’
The ASG said no threat was looming over the head of WhatsApp till the report on the inquiry was submitted with the competition watchdog.

WhatsApp had said its new privacy policy came into effect from May 15. It also clarified that it would not start deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted it and would try to encourage them to get on board.

The CCI, on the other hand, had said it was dealing with the instant messaging app’s new privacy policy that could lead to “excessive data collection” of consumers, the use and sharing of the data in an anti competitive context.

The CCI had said that the current probe order was made to gauge whether access to data would lead to abuse of dominant position. It was not concerned with the privacy aspect of the issue as the Supreme Court was already seized of it, it stated.

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