A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla reserved the order after the counsel of all sides concluded their arguments.
Appearing for one of the petitioners, Senior Advocate Harish Salve told the court that the matter is pending before the Supreme Court and this is a headline-grabbing endeavour by CCI.
Representing Facebook, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that CCI proceedings must be kept in abeyance.
The counsel apprised the court that when Facebook bought the messaging app, WhatsApp started a Policy in 2016 and it was challenged in the Supreme Court and the Centre had submitted to have a proper framework on this.Senior Advocate Salve said that this is not a competition issue.
The counsel also added that user conversation is protected by end to end encryption. He also apprised the court that applications on the 2021 policy are also pending before the court. "Respect for privacy is coded in our DNA since we started WhatsApp," the lawyer for Whatsapp said, adding that it does not retain messages and are deleted from the servers after it is delivered.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for Facebook, told the court that Facebook is not following WhatsApp's policy. He also said that matter is being heard by the Supreme Court.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing CCI in the matter, told the court that the matter is not of privacy but of access to data and the Competition is going to deal with metadata.
ASG Lekhi responded that data can have a privacy or competition dimension. He also said that the issue is completely competition based as understanding consumer behaviour and preferences facilitate targeted advertising.