The Supreme Court on Thursday granted one week’s time to Google India to comply with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order that directed the technology giant to deposit 10 per cent of Rs 1,337.76 crore penalty imposed on it by the competition watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged anti-competitive practices, the media has reported.
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The apex court refused to interfere with the interim order of the NCLAT and sent the tech behemoth plea back to the tribunal and asked it to decide the case by March 31, news agency ANI reported.
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A bench, headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, declined the NCLAT order. However, the top court directed the NCLAT to dispose of Google’s appeal by March 31. The bench said any expression of opinion of this court on merits would affect the case before the NCLAT. It added that the findings by the CCI cannot be said to be without jurisdiction or with manifest error, according to news agency IANS.
The Chief Justice said the compliance with the order of the CCI is extended by a further period of one week.
To recall, Google recently warned that the growth of its massively popular Android ecosystem in India will stall due to an antitrust order by the Competition Commission of India that asks it to change how it markets the Android platform. The Alphabet-owned company mentioned this in a Supreme Court challenge.
Earlier on January 4, the NCLAT had refused an interim stay on an order of the competition regulator and had asked Google to deposit 10 per cent of the amount.
The NCLAT admitted the search giant’s challenge to the CCI slapping a Rs 1,337.76 crore fine for abusing the dominant position of its Android smartphone operating system in the country.
India’s antitrust watchdog had penalised the Alphabet-owned company $161 million for exploiting its dominant position in the market for Android, which is present in 97 per cent of smartphones in India and is a key growth region for the US tech behemoth.
Google’s plea for an interim stay on the antitrust ruling by CCI was dismissed by the NCLAT. The appellate tribunal directed Google to deposit 10 per cent of Rs 1337.76 crore fine, it has also issued notices to CCI and directed to list the matter on February 13, for a hearing over the interim stay, a report said.
Google had challenged the CCI ruling in the Android case before the NCLAT and sought an immediate stay on the ruling. In the appeal, Google had challenged the findings as “patently erroneous” and ignoring “the reality of competition in India, Google’s procompetitive business model, and the benefits created for all stakeholders”.