DELHI HIGH COURT REFUSES TO STAY CCI PROBE INTO WHATSAPP PRIVACY
Whatsapp moved to the Division bench of Delhi High Court against the order of the DG, CCI and the impugned order of the single judge of the same Court, asking for an ex parte ad interim stay of operations.Mr. Harish Salve representing the Appellant Whatsapp submits that while the present LPA is pending before a Division Bench of this court, the DG has issued notice dated 04.06.2021 under section 41(2) read with section 36(2) of Competition Act 2002 demanding from the appellant information and response to certain queries which are already subject matter of the challenge in the LPA, in under 15 days since the investigation is “time bound”. Mr. Harish Salve stated this as an “act that smacks of overreach”Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi representing the CCI argued before the court that the notice issued by the DG on June 4 is a continuation of the CCI order passed on March 24. Lekhi also told the vacation bench that the preparation of the report would not be completed at least before the next date of hearing before the Roster Division Bench, which is July 9.The Court refused to stay the orders of the Commission. The Bench consisting of Anup Jairam Bhambhani and Jasmeet Singh stated that “there is no doubt that the issuance of impugned notice dated 04.06.2021 by the DG is a step in furtherance of the investigation commenced in Suo-Motu case”. Moreover no interim relief was given by the Division bench on 6th May, 2021 even though same relief was sought.Thus, the Court refused to stay the order as of now and directed the matter to be listed before the Roster Division Bench on 9th July 2021.