Supreme Court denies Google’s request to vary January 19 order upholding NCLAT decision on TCC sanction
The Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear Google LLC’s plea seeking variation of its Jan. 19 order and said the company could raise its grievance at the hearing of its appeal to the NCLAT.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala said it could at most add “without prejudice” to the January 19 order and nothing more.
Lead attorney Maninder Singh, representing the US tech giant, said part of the January 19 order should be removed.
The bench said the order was dictated in open court and so there was nothing to clarify or change.
The lawyer representing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said Google’s appeal is due to be heard next week before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and they can raise these issues in court.
The bench told Singh, “Sorry, that can’t be done. We won’t. You can raise all those grievances at the hearing of the appeals.”
On January 19, in a setback for Google, the top court approved the NCLAT’s order refusing to grant an interim stay of the imposition of a fine of Rs. 1,337 crore on the US-based giant. technology by the competition regulator for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem.
The High Court had said so at the summary stage, it would suffice to say that the conclusions of the ICC against Google were neither incompetent nor tainted by any manifest error justifying its interference.
He had given the US firm a week’s notice to file 10% of Rs. 1,337 crore fine imposed on it by the ICC.
The top court had asked the NCLAT to rule on Google’s appeal of the competition regulator’s order by March 31 this year after setting the hearing schedule.
“It suffices to note that the findings reached by the ICC cannot be held, at the interim stage, neither incompetent nor affected by a manifest error which would have required interference at the interim stage”, she had ordered.
Google had earlier moved the high court against the NCLAT’s Jan. 4 order denying an interim stay from the competition regulator imposing a Rs. 1,337 crore penalty on it.
The NCLAT, however, had admitted the search giant’s challenge to the ICC imposing the fine for abusing the dominant position of its Android smartphone operating system in the country and ordered its plea to be entered. in April.
The firm, whose head office is in the United States, during the hearing, declared without prejudice that it was ready to comply in part with the order of the ICC.
“These can be followed to the following extent – A. Google would unbundle Search and Chrome only from Play, Chrome from Search; In accordance with the EC (European Commission) Decision of July 18, 2018, Google would ensure that the exclusivity of the pre-installation of the search application only on wallet RSAs would not be pursued,” the high court had said.
He had noted that the NCLAT had scheduled the appeal for a final hearing and therefore had not heard the case on its merits.
Earlier, the ICC said the issue relating to Google’s alleged abuse of dominance in several markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem was “of national importance” and the world was looking at how India handled the issue.
The CCI had asked Google on October 20 to allow users of smartphones on the Android platform to uninstall applications and let them select a search engine of their choice.
This order was to come into effect on January 19.
On October 20 last year, the ICC, in addition to imposing a heavy penalty on Google, also ordered the major internet company to cease and desist from various unfair business practices.
The regulator, who passed the order after leading a detailed investigation more than three years ago, also asked Google to change its conduct within a set time frame.
The CCI, which began investigating the case in April 2019, ordered that original equipment manufacturers should not be prevented from choosing which first-party Google apps to pre-install, nor should they be forced to pre-install. a bunch of apps on their smart devices.
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