Attempt to frustrate proceedings: CCI on Google's plea

HC to go through CCI report; refuses to pass order on Google's plea to restrain leakage of information

n its plea, Google said that 'unlawful disclosure' of the DG's Report and CCI’s failure to preserve confidentiality damaged its reputation

Google had said a confidential interim fact-finding report was leaked to the media. Credit: Reuters Photo

The Delhi High Court on Friday decided to go through a report by the Director General into the proceedings initiated by the Competition Commission of India into alleged unfair trade practices on behalf of search engine Google.

A bench of Justice Rekha Palli refused to pass any order on a plea filed by Google for restraining the CCI from leaking its investigation report to the media. The court put the matter for consideration on Monday, September 27.

"How can we pass orders without looking at DG's report," the bench asked.

The court also took exception to a letter written by a California-based senior officer of Google to the CCI warning of legal action over the alleged leak. 

"Your client had no business writing to the adjudicating authority. If your client wanted to inform, it could've written to the CCI Registrar," the court told Google's counsel.

Arguing for Google, senior advocate A M Singhvi contended that this leakage should not continue even for a minute. He alleged that information were being passed on to media houses and there should be an order against it.

"CCI must be restrained from any leak. It can't be leaking information like a sieve to news portals while denying it to us," he said.

Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, appearing for CCI, submitted that Google's plea was filed to frustrate our proceedings.  No order can be passed in the absence of any proof that we have leaked it.

"There is nothing to show that we have leaked it. What is the confidentiality in this? They are making this trend on the statutory body. What are the newspapers saying that the CCI is investigating. What else is being revealed," he asked.

"If they are so aggrieved, they should make these newspapers parties to the case. Let them respond," he submitted further.

In its plea filed on Thursday, technology giant Google said that the “unlawful disclosure” of the Director General’s Report and CCI’s failure to preserve confidentiality damaged its reputation. It is further prejudicial and renders its rights of defense and due process redundant in proceedings before the CCI and the DG, it claimed.

The company also contended that leakage of information in the ongoing investigation by the CCI into its Android smart phone agreements, violated its “freedom of trade” and “severely" affected the right to conduct business.

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