Opposing the Competition Commission of India (CCI)'s probe into the latest WhatsApp privacy policy, its parent company Meta (formerly Facebook) on Friday told the Delhi High Court that the government authority cannot investigate it only because it owns the instant messaging platform. 

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing the appeal filed by Meta and Whatsapp challenging the single-judge order which refused to stay the CCI's order in April last year.

During the course of the hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, on behalf of Meta, pointed out that the two platforms are different entities, though Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. "The ownership is common but roads are different, policies are different. As far as Facebook is concerned, the first notice to Whatsapp to make enquiry is the actual notice," he argued.

Arguing that there is no material with respect to Facebook in the matter, Rohatgi said it was 'suo moto jurisdiction' and there is no material to commence an investigation. 

Further arguments in the matter will be heard on July 25.

In the previous hearing, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of Facebook and WhatsApp, submitted that the new privacy policy gives the users freedom to not share their data and there is no element of coercion involved.

In June 2021, the Delhi High Court had refused to stay a notice issued by the CCI, asking WhatsApp to furnish certain information in connection with the probe, ordered in March, on the instant messaging app's new updated privacy policy.

On October 23, 2021, the Centre had told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp has already violated the fundamental rights of users in the country by denying dispute resolution rights while opposing a plea filed by WhatsApp and Facebook against the new IT rules.
Source IANS

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