The Competition Commission of India (CCI) told the Delhi High Court on Monday that it did not leak any information to the media relating to an investigation into Google's Android smartphone agreements.
Taking note of the CCI’s submissions, the high court said nothing survives in the petition filed by Internet giant Google against the alleged leak of confidential probe information and disposed of the plea.
The court said in case Google has any further grievance that the information was being leaked it will be open for it to take legal recourse available.
“This court has not expressed any opinion on the claims made by the petitioner (Google) that it is respondent 1 (CCI) which is responsible for the said leaks,” Justice Rekha Palli made it clear.
Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, representing the CCI, submitted that the assumption of leak was wrong.
He said even though the commission stands by the legality of its order on Google's appeal against the Director General order on its “confidentiality claim”, to expedite the proceedings it has no objection to accept the request of the company on confidentiality.
“CCI was willing to maintain confidentiality..,” the ASG said and congratulated Google for its 23rd birthday.
“It is Google’s 23rd birthday today. We greet them through their counsel and wish them all the best,” it said.
When the ASG said the writ petition has nothing to do on breach, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Google, said “this writ (petition) is very much on breach”.
Google’s counsel said in case the CCI is bound by its statement, the grievance stands addressed.
The CCI had earlier told the high court that Google's plea against the alleged leak of confidential probe information was wholly misplaced and an attempt to frustrate the proceedings related to its Android smartphone agreements.
It had said that the commission stood by the legal obligation with respect to maintenance of confidentiality and clarified that there was no lapse on part of the body.
Google’s counsel had said that the allegedly leaked information was only in possession with the Director General who further passes it on to CCI and no other person, including the parties, are privy to it.
Google, in a statement, had said that on September 18, 2021, a confidential interim fact-finding report submitted by the DG's office to CCI relating to an investigation into Google's Android smartphone agreements was leaked to the media.
The company had said it has filed the petition in the court seeking redressal of its grievance, specifically protesting against the breach of confidence which impairs Google's ability to defend itself and harms it and its partners.
According to reports, the CCI probe is stated to have found Google allegedly abusing its dominant position and indulging in unfair practices with respect to mobile operating system Android.
After prima-facie finding alleged violation of competition norms, the watchdog, in early 2019, had ordered a detailed probe against Google in this regard.
As per procedure, CCI will closely analyse the probe report and seek the views and submissions of the parties concerned before passing an order.