“Supreme Court Delays Google’s Appeal Against CCI’s Rs 1,338 Crore Penalty to January 2024”

Supreme Court Delays Google's Appeal Against CCI's Rs 1,338 Crore Penalty to January 2024

The Supreme Court of India has rescheduled the highly anticipated hearing of Google’s appeal against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) penalty of Rs 1,338 crore. The hearing, which was originally set to begin on October 11, has been pushed to January 2024 due to ongoing constitution bench proceedings.

In October 2022, the CCI ruled that Google had been exploiting its dominant position across various markets within the Android mobile device ecosystem. This decision was based on an extensive investigation and documents submitted by both parties. Google was ordered to cease and desist from these alleged anti-competitive practices and was slapped with a hefty fine.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) later upheld the CCI’s order in March 2023, affirming the Rs 1,338 crore penalty. The NCLAT did, however, modify certain aspects of the ruling:

  1. Warning Users: The NCLAT supported Google’s practice of issuing warnings (sideloading) to users when downloading applications from unfamiliar sources.
  2. API Protection: Google was not mandated to share its proprietary application program interface (API) with third parties.
  3. Third-Party Stores: The NCLAT agreed with Google’s decision to exclude third-party application stores from its Play Store to prevent potential malware threats.
  4. App Uninstallation: Google retained the authority to restrict the uninstallation of Google Suite apps on Android devices.

Despite these modifications, the CCI has challenged the NCLAT’s order, further prolonging the legal battle.

During the recent Supreme Court proceedings, senior advocate Harish Salve and Additional Solicitor General Venkatraman, representing Google and CCI respectively, requested a rescheduling of the hearing due to its unavailability on October 10. Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud has now indicated that the case will be listed for the last week of January 2024, accommodating both parties’ schedules.

This legal tussle not only holds significant financial implications for Google but also has broader implications for competition and anti-trust regulation within India’s rapidly evolving tech industry. As the case continues, all eyes will remain on the Supreme Court’s final verdict in early 2024, which will determine whether Google’s appeal succeeds or if the CCI’s penalty will stand as a landmark decision in the realm of Indian anti-trust law.

Sources By Agencies

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