What is the CCI’s ₹1,337 Cr penalty on Google? Supreme Court to hear in Jan 2024

CCI’s ₹1,337 Cr penalty on Google: The Supreme Court of India will begin hearings in January 2024 on an appeal challenging a penalty of ₹1,337.76 crores imposed by Google for alleged misuse of its dominant position in several markets related to Android mobile devices.

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) had filed this appeal after the decision of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) was upheld in this matter.

India’s Chief Justice, D.Y. Chandrachud, along with Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra, confirmed that they would hear the case in the final week of January 2024.

Justice Chandrachud stated, “I will ensure there are no further delays so that the case can be resolved in a matter of days.”

In January, NCLAT had directed Google to deposit 10% of the imposed ₹1,337.76 crores penalty amount before the hearing on the appeal against CCI’s order. In March, NCLAT upheld the penalty imposed by CCI. However, NCLAT did provide significant relief to tech giants by canceling four of the ten directions issued by CCI.

CCI had imposed the penalty last October, and besides the penalty, CCI had also directed Google to refrain from engaging in anti-competitive practices and to amend its conduct within a specified time frame.

In a press release issued by CCI, it was stated, “The Commission has imposed a monetary penalty on Google and has also issued orders to restrain its participation in anti-competitive activities, which violate the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act.”

Previously, the Supreme Court had denied interim relief to Google when the case was still pending before NCLAT.

What is the CCI's ₹1,337 Cr penalty on Google

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“We contest jurisdiction since the matter is pending appeal before NCLAT. CCI’s findings cannot be accepted or errors in the process of inquiry cannot be rectified during the course of arguments. While we are not intruding into NCLAT’s orders, we request the Tribunal to expedite the appeal, as the Supreme Court had directed it to dispose of the appeal by March 31, 2023.”

Subsequently, NCLAT upheld CCI’s penalty, leading Google to challenge it in the Supreme Court.

What is the CCI’s ₹1,337 Cr penalty on Google?

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Wednesday upheld the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order to impose a penalty of ₹1,337.76 crores on internet giant Google for unfair business practices.

The two-member bench of NCLAT directed Google to comply with the orders and deposit the amount within 30 days.

The NCLAT bench, comprising Chairman Justice Ashok Bhushan and Member Alok Srivastava, also made some modifications to the CCI order.

The tribunal also dismissed Google’s contention that the inquiry was in violation of natural justice by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The tribunal said on Wednesday that CCI’s findings regarding Google’s anti-competitive conduct were correct, and the company was liable to pay the penalty. However, NCLAT canceled four of the ten directions imposed on Google to change its business model.

Amidst the reliefs, Google will no longer be required to host third-party app stores within the Play Store, as previously ordered by CCI.

In January, the Supreme Court of India had refused to stay any of the interim orders made last year, when the matter was still pending before NCLAT. The top court had directed the matter to be heard on merits and on the basis of the law by March-end.

So, Google will have some relief in this matter as the Supreme Court had directed the case to be heard on its merits by the end of March.

In October last year, CCI had imposed a ₹1,337.76 crores penalty on Google for its anti-competitive practices related to Android mobile devices. The regulator had directed the internet major to cease various inappropriate business practices and to stay away from them. This decision was challenged before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which is an appellate authority over orders passed by CCI.”

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