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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

‘Must know law of land’: Delhi HC refuses interim relief to Google over CCI report ‘leak’

Google, in its plea on Thursday, has said that leakage of the report is a breach of confidence which impairs its ability to defend itself and harms it and its partners.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: September 24, 2021 1:34:48 pm
The court said that it will hear the case on Monday. (File Photo)

The Delhi High Court on Friday, while refusing to grant any interim relief to Google over its petition alleging that a confidential interim fact-finding report prepared by Competition Commission of India’s Director General in relation to an ongoing probe into the company’s Android smartphone agreements has been leaked to the media, said that the tech giant should know the law of the country if it wants to function here.

“Advise your client. Just because he is there (in California)… he should know that if you want to function in a country, he has to know the law,” observed Justice Rekha Palli during the hearing.

The court made the remark after Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman told the court that a senior officer from Google’s California office had written a “threatening letter” to CCI’s Chairman, who is also the adjudicating authority in the case. Quoting from the letter, Venkataraman said that the letter warned that Google will initiate legal actions against “those who may have facilitated the unlawful release of the DG report”.

While opposing the petition, Venkatrama asked the court to interfere into the matter.  “It will send a completely wrong signal. This is just to frustrate proceedings,” he contended. CCI also said that stating that it will conduct an inquiry into the leaks does not mean that “I have leaked it”.

The court said that it will hear the case on Monday after it peruses the September 8 order of CCI on confidentiality claims in the case. The CCI order was not on record and was given to the court in a sealed cover during the hearing. CCI told the court that Google’s “presumption” against it is wholly misplaced, and it is aware of the legal position on confidentiality. The commission has neither leaked nor intends to leak any confidential information of Google, ASG N Venkataraman told the court.

Google, in its plea on Thursday, has said that leakage of the report is a breach of confidence which impairs its ability to defend itself and harms it and its partners. A Google spokesperson said the company was deeply concerned that the report was leaked to the media “while in the CCI’s custody”.

Google also said that the DG’s findings do not reflect the final decision of the CCI and the submission of the investigation report is an interim procedural step. “Google has not yet had the opportunity to review the DG’s findings, much less submit its defence of any allegations,” it said.

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