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CCI move to choke Android: Google

The October 20 order also fined the company Rs 1,337 crore for abusing its dominant position in the Android platform
Representational image.
Representational image.
File Photo.

Our Legal Correspondent, Our Mumbai Bureau   |   Mumbai, New Delhi   |   Published 12.01.23, 01:57 AM

Google has informed the Supreme Court that an order of the Indian anti-trust watchdog may stall the operations of its Android platform.

The Competition Commission of India order — that asked the tech giant to change its Android practices — risks harm to Indian consumers apart from affecting public interest by restricting app developers and preventing competition, stated Google’s filing to the apex court, which is not public. The October 20 order also fined the company Rs 1,337 crore for abusing its dominant position in the Android platform.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday listed for January 16 Google’s plea to stay the Competition Commission order that pulled up the online search giant for abusing its “dominant position” and resorting to “unfair practices” on the Android platform.

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud sitting in the bench with Justice P.S. Narasimha put up the matter for urgent hearing on January 16 after senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Google pleaded that otherwise the CCI penalty would become enforceable from January 19.

Google moved the apex court after the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) last week refused an interim stay on the competition regulator imposing the Rs 1,337-crore penalty and asked it to deposit 10 per cent of the amount. The NCLAT will hear the matter on February 13.

In a separate order issued on October 25, the CCI fined Google Rs 936 crore for its practices on the Play Store. The company on Wednesday failed to get relief from the NCLAT on this count.

In his brief submission before the apex court, Singhvi pleaded the penalty was imposed by the CCI without any evidence and through a tainted investigation conducted by its director-general of investigation.

He pleaded the principles of natural justice were flouted by the CCI investigation which failed to consider the material placed by Google to deny the allegations levelled by certain aggrieved persons.

A Reuters report quoting Google’s filing before the apex court said it will have to modify its existing contracts, introduce new license agreements and alter existing arrangements with more than 1,100 device manufacturers and thousands of app developers.

The tech giant further said major advancements made in the growth of an ecosystem of device manufacturers, app developers and users are close to coming to a halt because of the remedial directions cited by the CCI.

Relief denied

Google on Wednesday failed to get an interim relief from the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in a case where the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had fined the tech giant Rs 936.44 crore for abusing its dominant position in Play Store.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Alok Srivastava directed Google to deposit 10 per cent of the fine before its registry in the next four weeks. The NCLAT issued notices to the CCI and other respondents and posted the matter for hearing on April 17.



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