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Facebook, WhatsApp granted more time by HC to reply to CCI notices

The Delhi High Court on Monday extended the deadline for Whatsapp and Facebook to respond to the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) notifications.

The Division Bench was hearing appeals of Whatsapp and Facebook against a single bench dismissal of their appeals against a CCI order to investigate the messaging app’s new privacy policy.

On Monday, a bench comprising Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh delayed the case until March 30, 2022, citing the defendants’ failure to complete the Data Protection Bill. After taking notes on the submission of the appellant, the court gave Whatsapp and Facebook time to respond to the notice issued by CCI, which requested certain data from them. The case was postponed until March 30, 2022.

The court gave time to petitioners, after Senior Advocate Harish Salve, representing Whatsapp LLC, informed the court that the CCI is pressing on a response to notifications despite the issue being ongoing before the courts and under judicial deliberation.

The stay, which was issued on July 30, 2021, and again extended until August 27, 2021, was later withdrawn on October 11, 2021, according to CCI’s Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi. On June 4, CCI submitted a notice to Whatsapp, and on June 8, CCI sent a notice to Facebook, requesting information and responses to specified questions.

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The Delhi High Court had previously urged the DG, CCI to keep in mind that an inquiry against the appellants (WhatsApp and Facebook) is now being considered by a Division Bench of this court. The Bench further observed that there was no question in its mind that the DG’s issuance of the impugned notice was a step forward in the investigation which began in the Suo-Motu case, whose inquiry is the subject of the current LPA’s challenge.


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