Friday, March 24, 2023

Supreme Court to hear Google’s plea against NCLAT order on Rs 1337 crore penalty

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The Supreme Court will take up Google’s petition on January 16, challenging an order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which upheld the imposition of Rs 1,337 crore penalty by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on the tech giant for abusing its dominant position.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the matter before the Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha, stating that the order would force the company to change the way it marketed its Android platform.

The Counsel appearing for Google contended that CCI passed extraordinary directions in the case, stating that the compliance date was January 19 and Google filed the plea in December.
He said there has been urgency since January 19 was compliance date and that there was no finding on abuse of dominance.

As per Singhvi, the CCI order passed in October 2022, was challenged by the NCLAT on January 4. He said Google filed the appeal in December 2022 and hence, no case for interim relief was made out.
The Tribunal had observed that since it did not show any urgency after the CCI passed the verdict in October last year, interim relief could not be given to Google.
As per the NCLAT order, the appellant did not show any urgency after the CCI passed the verdict in October last year. It observed that had there been any such urgency, the appellant would have approached this tribunal forthwith
However, the Bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar, member (judicial) and Dr Alok Srivastava, member (technical), listed the matter for final hearing on April 3, considering the urgency shown by Google for interim relief and taking into account the voluminous records and long order of the CCI.

NCLAT had further directed Google to deposit 10 percent of the Rs 1337.76 crore fine amount within three weeks.

In October 2022, CCI had imposed the penalty on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem.

Apart from the monetary penalty, Google was further ceased and desisted from participating in anti-competitive practices and was directed to modify its conduct within a defined timeline. Google challenged the order before the NCLAT.

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