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SC to consider sending back Google-CCI matter to NCLAT

NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order against Google wherein the former had asked the US giant to bring in changes to the Android ecosystem by 19 January.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday said it will consider sending the matter back to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and said it will ask the tribunal to freshly consider the stay application filed by Google in the matter. The top court will now hear the matter on Wednesday.

On 4 January, NCLAT refused to grant any interim relief to Google in a case against CCI.

The competition watch dog had imposed a penalty of 1,338 crore on the Alphabet-owned US giant for indulging in alleged unfair business practices and using its dominant market position in certain markets. Aggrieved by the CCI order, Google moved the NCLAT and pleaded seeking a stay on the CCI order.

Apart from imposing the penalty, the CCI had also directed to cease and desist from participating in anti-competitive practices and to modify its conduct within a defined timeline.

Additional solicitor general R. Venkatraman informed the top court that the European Union has held the US giant in abuse of having a dominant position, adding that India was being treated differently by Google.

Essentially, Google before the NCLAT had alleged that the CCI had copied parts of a European order against the company for abusing market dominance of its Android operating system while seeking the CCI order be quashed by the tribunal. It also sought a stay on the penalty imposed by CCI.

Earlier in January, NCLAT had said: “We will fix the matter in February on the point of interim stay. At the moment we are not passing any interim orders in the matter”, while also adding that the matter required detailed hearing.

The appellate tribunal has sought response from the competition watchdog on the penalty imposed on Google and issued it a notice in the matter. The court has posted the matter for detailed hearing on 13 February.

It had also asked Google to deposit 10% of the penalty as an interim measure.

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