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The single-judge of the HC Justice Navin Chawla while dismissing the pleas filed by Facebook and WhatsApp against the order of the CCI, the Court stated that the investigation could not be quashed merely on the ground that the Commission passed the order without waiting for the orders of the Supreme Court and the High Court.
Facebook and WhatsApp challenged CCI order calling for a Director-General (DG) probe to ascertain the full extent, scope, and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent of users. They argued that privacy was a constitutional issue, which could not be examined by the Commission.
It was further contended by the social media platforms that CCI's order did not meet the requirements of Section 26(1) of the Competition Act that deals with the procedure for inquiry on complaints.
The said provision provides that "If the Commission is of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case, it shall direct the Director General to cause an investigation to be made into the matter."
It further stated that it was dealing with the issue of excessive data collection and the use and sharing of it in an anti-competitive context. This was indeed the violation of the provisions of the Act and hence its' orders were dealing with separate issues altogether.
The Court pointed out that the said petition was filed by the petitioners without filing an application before the Apex Court or the High Court for seeking clarification and maintainability of the CCI's order.
The HC concluded that there is no merit in the petition and rejected the same by mentioning that the Court cannot direct the Commission to hold its' hands and do not pass the orders. The order of the CCI was well within its jurisdiction and limits.