According to the sources, The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is reviewing a AntiTrust complaint filed against WhatsApp messaging app in mid-March. There’s allegations against WhatsApp that it was integrating its digital payment facility within its message app, allowing it ot use its market position.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.
Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
WhatsApp messenger has 400 million user in India, biggest market in the world. Now with this big user data base, if WhatsApp integrate its payment facility within the messenger app then it could harm competition and violate the country’s antitrust laws.
Antitrust Law:- India’s antitrust law, The Competition Act, 2002, was fully constituted on March 1, 2009 – The Competition Act monitors any economic activity that monopolizes competition within the market; it aims to protect consumers and small enterprises, and ensures the freedom of trade.
The Act also regulates acquisitions, mergers, and combinations in India.
WhatsApp’s payment service will allow users to do inter-bank fund transfers from within the messaging app. This feature by WhatsApp can harm other digital payment apps in India, for example Paytm.
Two of the sources told Reuters the complainant in the case was a lawyer, but declined to divulge the identity of the person. Reuters could not independently ascertain who filed the case.
“The case is in initial stages .. senior members of CCI are reviewing it but a final decision hasn’t been reached,” said the first of the three sources, all of whom declined to be identified as the case details were private.
The antitrust complaint is the latest set back for WhatsApp in India, though the company told the court it will comply with necessary laws before it moves ahead.
WhatsApp is already working to launch its payments platform in India, where it has been beta testing it with 1 million users since 2018.