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Supreme Court refuses to stay on CCI’s order against Google

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The Supreme Court on Monday refused to put a stay on the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s order against Google, imposing a Rs 1,337 crore penalty on the tech giant for anti-competitive practices. The apex court asked the search engine giant to explain if it will follow the regulations set on pre-installed apps on Android phones in the European Union. It said that it could consider sending the application filed by Google back to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).

The matter was listed before the SC bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and J B Pardiwala. Google India moved to the apex court challenging the order passed by the NCLAT on January 6 refusing to stay the CCI’s order and directing it to deposit 10% of the penalty amount within a period of three weeks.

The bench asked senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Google’s counsel, “will Google practice the same regime in place in India as you have in Europe?”  Chief Justice further added, “Please reflect on this and come back.” Singhvi said that extraordinary directions have been passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the order has to be complied with by 19 January.

As per a LawLive report, the CCI told the Supreme Court that the EU commission had found the tech giant’s practice of pre-installing apps on Android phones unfair in 2016. The company had since changed how it approached the matter there. However, in India, it continues with its earlier practices and was unwilling to adhere to a similar order passed by the CCI. The watchdog also told the court that Google has been exhibiting different standards in Europe and in India.

Earlier this month, the NCLAT did not find any urgency to pass an interim order. Following this, Google filed the appeal in December last year. In October, the tech giant was slapped with two penalties amounting to Rs 2,200 crore in less than a week. CCI asked Google to cease and desist unfair business practices and to address the anti-competitive issues within a defined timeline. CCI also noted that making access to the Play Store dependent on mandatory usage of Google Play’s Billing System for paid apps and in-app purchases is one-sided and arbitrary and devoid of any legitimate business interest.

 

 

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