While dismissing the plea, Justice Yashwant Varma of Delhi High Court orally observed that “there has to be some end to luxury litigation”.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Shama and Justice Subramonium Prasad had dismissed pleas by WhatsApp and its parent, Facebook (now Meta). The Letters Patents Appeal (LPA) filed by WhatsApp and Facebook were dismissed as devoid of merit.
The appellants then requested the court to extend the interim stay so that they could file replies before the CCI. The court rejected this too.
In March 2021, the CCI passed an order forming a prima facie opinion of the violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act, and directed an investigation.
The regulator also noted that the data and data analytics have immense relevance for the competitive performance of digital enterprises. For Facebook, data from WhatsApp can supplement the consumer profiling it does through the data collection on its platform.
CCI remarked that under competitive market conditions, users would have sovereign right and control over decisions related to the sharing of their personalised data
WhatsApp and Facebook had challenged the CCI’s probe in Delhi High Court, claiming that since WhatsApp’s 2021 policy has been challenged before the Supreme Court, the CCI should not have taken up the matter. However, agreeing with CCI, the single judge bench of Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and allowed the probe to continue.
WhatsApp and Facebook challenged the single-judge bench’s order before the Division Bench.
The Division Bench, after hearing the arguments of WhatsApp, Facebook and CCI in July 2022, dismissed the pleas of the petitioners on August 25.