NCLAT Delhi denies interim relief to Google, admits plea against CCI order on penalty
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), Delhi on Friday agreed to hear the petition filed by Google against the CCI order of October 25, 2022, directing the tech giant to deposit 10 percent penalty amount of Rs 936.44 crore in the case Alphabet Inc & Ors vs Competition Commission of India & Ors.
The direction was passed by the Principal Bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar (Judicial Member) and Dr. Alok Srivastava (Technical Member), which denied any interim relief to Google and fixed the matter for hearing on April 17.
Earlier on January 11, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi had mentioned the matter before the Supreme Court, stating that the order would force the company to change the way it marketed its Android platform.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha had agreed to take up Google’s petition on January 16, challenging the January 4 order of NCLAT, which upheld the imposition of Rs 1,337 crore penalty by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on the tech giant for abusing its dominant position.
In October 2022, penalty was imposed on Google by CCI for abusing its strong position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem.
The Counsel appearing for Google had contended before the Supreme Court that CCI passed extraordinary directions in the case, stating that the compliance date was January 19 and Google filed the plea in December.
He said there has been urgency since January 19 was compliance date and that there was no finding on abuse of dominance.
As per Singhvi, the CCI order passed in October 2022, was challenged by the NCLAT on January 4. He said Google filed the appeal in December 2022 and hence, no case for interim relief was made out.
The Tribunal had observed that since it did not show any urgency after the CCI passed the verdict in October last year, interim relief could not be granted to the tech gaint.
As per the NCLAT order, the appellant did not show any urgency after the CCI passed the verdict in October last year. It observed that had there been any such urgency, the appellant would have approached this tribunal forthwith
However, the Bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar, member (judicial) and Dr Alok Srivastava, member (technical), listed the matter for final hearing on April 3, considering the urgency shown by Google for interim relief and taking into account the voluminous records and long order of the CCI.
NCLAT had further directed Google to deposit 10 percent of the Rs 1337.76 crore fine amount within three weeks.
In October 2022, CCI had imposed the penalty on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem.
Apart from the monetary penalty, Google was further ceased and desisted from participating in anti-competitive practices and was directed to modify its conduct within a defined timeline. Google challenged the order before the NCLAT.
Alphabet Inc, a multinational technology conglomerate holding company, created through restructuring of Google on October 2, 2015, became the parent company of Google and several former Google subsidiaries.
Google LLC (formerly Google Inc) was a Delaware limited liability company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, which provided a variety of information technology-related services and an internet search service.
Google India Private Limited (Google India) is an indirect subsidiary of Google LLC.