The vacation bench composed of judges Anup Jairam Bhambhani and Jasmeet Singh said it would pass a request order.
At the hearing, the judge said that because it was sitting on the vacation bench, it did not want to delve into the substance of the matter even if the main petitions are pending on the bench led by the Chief Justice. “We will pass an order. The matter will be listed on July 9th (the date of the main petition has been fixed),” the bench said.
The High Court issued a notice on the appeal earlier and asked the center to respond.
In the new applications filed in the pending appeal, Facebook and WhatsApp sought to retain CCI’s June 4 notice, asking them to provide certain information for the main purpose of inquiry conducted by it.
Harish Salve, a senior advocate on behalf of WhatsApp, said the problem is that they received a fresh notice on June 4, and the last reply date was yesterday, which is June 21.
Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared in court for Facebook, said that the issue here is of propriety and that it is incorrect as the country’s Supreme Court, which means that the Supreme Court is investigating the matter.
Why did they wait till the evening of June 4 to issue the notice? They could have done it earlier, he said.
The Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing CCI, objected to the request that the provision of information during the investigation phase would not result in CCI issuing any order. The notice was issued based on an investigation not set aside by the High Court, and this is not the first notice issued to them.
ASG Balbir Singh, who also appeared in court for CCI, said that because of the statutory orders against Facebook and WhatsApp, they should not use the orders of the High Court and stated that they would not provide the information required by CCI and that the information should not be shelved at this stage.
When the court asked the CCI what the urgency of issuing the notice was, Lekhi said that this issue is not urgent, but the matter itself requires a long process. He said that until the Director-General submits a report to CCI, no urgent action will be taken against them. The High Court issued a notice on May 6 and sought a response from CCI on the appeals filed by Facebook and WhatsApp.
CCI argued before a single judge that it did not review the alleged violations of personal privacy under investigation by the Supreme Court.
There is no question of jurisdictional errors, it argued that Facebook and WhatsApp’s pleas to challenge its decision were “incompetent and misunderstood.”
It also contended that the collected data, including the location of the individual, the type of device they use, their Internet service provider, and the people they talk to, will lead to the creation of customer profiles and preferences, which will be in the following ways to monetize targeted advertising, all of which are equivalent to stalking.
They also stated that the CCI’s decision abused the committee’s suo-motu jurisdiction.
They claimed that the CCI, in this case, has been drifted away from the competition and is investigating privacy issues, which have been investigated by the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court.