NCLAT directs Google to pay 10 pc of Rs 1,337.76 cr penalty; admits appeal for hearing

A two-member bench admitted the petition filed by Google against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) penalty

Source: PTI
Source: PTI


The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Wednesday directed Google to pay 10 per cent of the Rs 1,337.76-crore penalty imposed on the tech giant by fair trade regulator CCI.

A two-member bench admitted the petition filed by Google against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) penalty.

It, however, declined to grant any immediate stay over the operations and said it would pass any order after hearing out other parties.

The appellate tribunal has issued notices to CCI and directed to list the matter on February 13, for hearing over the interim stay on the regulator's order during the pendency of the matter before it.

The NCLAT direction came over a petition filed by Google, challenging the CCI order on the tech giant abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem, saying the verdict is a setback for Indian users and will make such devices more expensive in the country.

During the proceedings, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Google, sought an immediate stay on the order passed by the CCI on October 20.

Singhvi termed the CCI order as "patently erroneous" and "fraught with errors".

He submitted that there was no finding of any abuse of dominance against Google by CCI in its order.

He also alleged that CCI in its order has copy-pasted certain parts of a ruling passed by the European Union Commission against Google earlier in 2018.

Singhvi pressed for an immediate stay of the CCI order, however, an NCLAT bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Alok Srivastava questioned the urgency shown by Google.

"Without a proper hearing, no order could be passed," said NCLAT.

It also observed that the order was passed by CCI on October 20 and Google approached NCLAT almost two months after that.

"You took two months to file and expect us to pass an order in two minutes," the bench said adding "we would have appreciated it if you had filed within a week or two weeks." This was also opposed by the counsel appearing for CCI.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi filed an impleadment plea on behalf of Mapmyindia.

The appellate tribunal allowed them to file their plea with the registry but said it would hear them at a later date.

On October 20 last year, CCI slapped a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for anti-competitive practices in relation to Android mobile devices. In the October ruling, CCI had also ordered the internet major to cease and desist from various unfair business practices.

This was challenged by Google before NCLAT, which is an appellate authority over the CCI against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the regulator.

In its petition, Google had sought an interim stay over the penalty.

Android has greatly benefited Indian users, developers, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and powered India's digital transformation, Google had said. 

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines