[BREAKING] CCI denies leaking confidential reports as alleged by Google in Delhi High court, questions why press not impleaded as party for publishing the report

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) today denied leaking confidential reports as alleged by Google in a plea filed before the Delhi High Court. Google LLC has alleged that Competition Commission of India (CCI) has allegedly leaked to the media a confidential interim fact-finding report submitted by the Director General’s (DG) office to the CCI relating to an ongoing investigation into Google’s Android smartphone agreements.

Sr. Adv. Dr AM Singhvi appearing for Google LLC today submitted before the single judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli that there is a violation of confidentiality by CCI and that "everyday this leak is happening."

Singhvi urged that the impugned order in allowing confidentially to be breached, must be stayed. He argued that the impugned order was passed on August 23 and was made available to Google on September 16 and during this period no hearing was granted to Google, which too was a denial of the right to natural justice.

ASG N Venkataraman appearing for CCI submitted that the affidavit filed by Google was “a truncated and an over-exaggerated affidavit” where allegations have been made against a government body but not a word in the affidavit said that CCI had leaked the report.

Vankatramana argued that if there was a breach of confidentiality and Google LLC had suffered damages, media houses such as Times of India and Economic Times should have been impleaded as party to the present petition.

At this Singhvi argued that the report should have been between the Director General (DG) and the CCI only and if it has been published by the media, it had to have been leaked from the CCI’s office.

Singhvi said in this regard, “They should not have leaked the information first of all. They are asking me to implead Times of India but how did the news leak when it was supposed to be between the DG and CCI. They want to send to us to a wild goose chase.”

Venkataramana argued that Google LLC was “shocked to receive the order”. He submitted that “They were not expecting such an order but we had to pass an order. There are various judgements that say that principles of natural justice are not required in this kind of case. We have passed an order after 6 years, following turbulences and now they have to prove their case. They want to frustrate this procedure by filing this case.”

Denying allegations of leaking the said confidential report, Venkataramana submitted that CCI had abided by Section 57 of the Competition Act.

The court however said that it will have to peruse the report of the Appellate Authority, after which an order will be passed. Accordingly the matter has been listed for next hearing on September 27.

Google has filed the writ petition seeking redress in this matter, specifically protesting against the breach of confidence stating that it impairs Google’s ability to defend itself, and harms Google and its partners.

Reportedly, the fact finding interim report submitted by the DG’s office to the CCI on September 18, found Google guilty of using practices to suppress competition to maintain dominance in several areas it operates including music (Youtube), search engine (Chrome) and app store (Play Store) among others.

The matter was mentioned yesterday  by Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi before the division bench of Chief justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh for early listing, and is listed for hearing tomorrow before Justice Rekha Palli's bench.

Case Title: Google LLC vs Competition Commission of India and Ors