Court refuses to impose temporary stay on Google penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore

The National Company Law Appeal Tribunal on Wednesday refused to temporarily suspend the Competition Commission of India’s Rs 1,337.76 crore fine on Google, reported Bar and Bench.

The court also ordered the tech company to deposit 10% of the fine before the next plea hearing on February 13.

In October, India’s Competition Commission fined Google for “abusing its dominant position” in several markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem. Android is an operating system that runs apps and programs on smartphones. It was acquired by Google in 2005.

The competition regulator had ordered an investigation against Google in 2019 after receiving consumer complaints about its Android smartphone deals.

On Wednesday, lead lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Google, argued the competition regulator’s order was a “copy-and-paste” of a 2018 European Commission order that imposed a £4 fine. .1 billion euros (more than 35,963 crore rupees) to Google for allegedly imposing illegal restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices.

“By this order, they change the statute that existed since 2005 [when Google acquired Android],” he said.

The court, however, said there was no urgency to issue an interim order to suspend the sentence.

“Before we even give an interim order, we need to understand the case and go through the records,” he said. “How do you expect us to place the order after hearing you for half an hour? »

CCI command

The commission said it found that pre-installation of the entire Google Mobile Suite – a collection of Google apps – was mandatory in Android smartphones and users were not given the option to uninstall it.

“Their [the applications] prominent placement is tantamount to imposing unfair terms on device manufacturers and thus violates competition law,” the antitrust body had said.

He said the most important search entry points in smartphones such as search apps, widgets and the Chrome web browser – also developed by Google – come pre-installed on Android devices, giving the technology company a significant competitive advantage over its competitors.

A day later, Google said the commission’s decision was a “major setback for consumers and businesses” in the country.