On Monday, the Supreme Court questioned tech giant Google about whether it would impose the same regulations on pre-installed apps in Android-based mobile phones in India as it does in Europe. On January 18, a bench consisting of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala scheduled a hearing on the case.
The Supreme Court launched its investigation after Additional Solicitor General of India N Venkataraman, speaking on behalf of CCI, claimed that Google had adopted different standards in Europe and India and that the search engine company had complied with a directive issued by the European Commission.
The bench heard ASG say, “We’ll present some startling data. Their complaint that they can’t comply with the order within 90 days is unfounded because they are fully observing the order that was passed in the European Union in 2016. They have fully paid the 4 billion euros. For the past five years, all of these instructions have been followed to the letter in Europe. A permanent committee is currently investigating this. This will now be covered by electronic law. The European Union has already recognised their hegemony. We live in a third-world nation.”
ASG questioned how they could make a distinction between European and Indian consumers.
Google India’s senior attorney Abhishek Manu Singhvi disputed the CCI’s assertion, asserting that the CCI had misrepresented the facts and that compliance in Europe related to MADA unbundling.
After that, the CJI scheduled the case for Wednesday and questioned Singhvi, “Will Google adhere to the same rules in India as they do in Europe? Please think about this and then return.”
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) fined the technology giant Rs 1,337.76 crore for alleged anti-competitive practises. Google India appealed this decision to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which refused to stay the penalty.
Google approached the Supreme Court after encountering a setback at NCLAT, which declined to stay a CCI order on abuse of dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem case.
Google has appealed the NCLAT’s decision from January 4 that refused to stay the CCI order on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to support an interim relief request because the CCI order was issued in October 2022 while Google’s appeal was not submitted until December 2022.
According to the Tribunal, Google could not be permitted to insist on interim relief because there was no indication of urgency in the appeal’s filing.
Additionally, Google must deposit 10% of the Rs. 1337.76 crore fine within three weeks, per NCLAT’s directive.
In October 2022, the CCI fined Google for abusing its dominant position in a number of markets within the ecosystem for Android mobile devices and ordered it to stop engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.
The NCLAT, an appellate authority over the CCI against any direction issued by the regulator, received a challenge from Google regarding the CCI order.
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