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Delhi HC dismisses WhatsApp and Facebook's plea challenging CCI order on privacy policy

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New Delhi, Aug 25: The Division bench of Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed the petitions of WhatsApp and Facebook, challenging a Competition Commission of India (CCI) order for an investigation into the messaging app's new privacy policy.

Delhi HC dismisses WhatsApp and Facebooks plea challenging CCI order on privacy policy

The Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad refused to stay the probe order.

Probe must continue as WhatsApp policy not withdrawn: CCI tells Delhi HCProbe must continue as WhatsApp policy not withdrawn: CCI tells Delhi HC

The bench kept the order reserved on July 25, 2022 after completion of all the submissions by all sides.

Appearing for Facebook Inc, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi had submitted that because Facebook is the formal owner of Whatsapp and the platform is said to share its data with Facebook (parent company) doesn't mean that it is a necessary party to investigate. While opposing the CCI probe against Facebook, Rohtagi further argued that there is no prima facie material available with the CCI to proceed with while conducting the investigation on WhatsApp's new privacy policy.

However, Additional Solicitar General appeared for CCI submitted that its jurisdiction to investigate Whatsapp's new privacy policy is not closed as the policy in question is neither withdrawn nor stayed by any court or by any judicial forum. Earlier CCI counsel said "we presently are not able to move forward with the investigation as the matter is examined by this court."

Earlier in the hearing, the Bench noted that the Data Protection Bill is yet to be finalised by the respondents/Centre while granting time to Whatsapp and Facebook to file their response over notice issued to them by CCI sought several details from them. Court also extended the interim order granted to appellant by earlier by the court. Earlier, senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for Whatsapp LLC informed the court that we are insisting to file response on CCI notices despite the matter pending before the courts and under judicial consideration.

Whatsapp was sent a notice on June 4, 2021 while Facebook was sent a notice on June 8, 2021 by CCI seeking information and response to certain queries.

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