The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal on Wednesday declined to grant interim relief to Google seeking a stay on competition watchdog CCI’s penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on the tech giant for abusing its dominant position with respect to Play Store policies.
The appellate tribunal has directed Google to deposit 10 per cent of the fine before its registry in the next four weeks.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Alok Srivastava issued notices to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and other respondents and posted the matter for hearing on April 17, 2023.
Last week, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) also declined to stay another CCI order, in which it had slapped a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for anti-competitive practices in relation to Android mobile devices.
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Google was fined over Rs 2,200 crore in two CCI rulings less than a week apart in October, marking a setback for the tech titan in one of the most promising digital markets globally.
On October 25, CCI had slapped a penalty of Rs 936.44 crore on Google for abusing its dominant position with respect to its Play Store policies.
The regulator has also directed the company to cease and desist from unfair business practices as well as carry out various measures to address the anti-competitive issues within a defined timeline.
Google had subsequently said it is ”pausing” enforcement of the requirement for developers to use Play’s billing system for the purchase of digital goods and services for transactions by users in India while it reviews legal options, in the aftermath of the recent ruling by the CCI.
”Following the CCI’s recent ruling, we are pausing enforcement of the requirement for developers to use Google Play’s billing system for the purchase of digital goods and services for transactions by users in India while we review our legal options and ensure we can continue to invest in Android and Play,” Google said in an update on help centre page on November 1.
The search engine giant has faced criticism globally for mandating software developers using its app store to only use its proprietary in-app payment system that charge a commission of up to 30 per cent on purchases made within an app.
Google is also facing a separate probe into its business conduct in the news content and Smart TV market in India.
The Competition Commission had also slapped a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on the tech major for anti-competitive practices in relation to Android mobile devices.
Google had filed appeals before the NCLAT against the two orders of CCI in October.
On January 4, while hearing the appeal in the Android matter, the appellate tribunal refused an interim stay on the competition regulator imposing a Rs 1,337-crore penalty and asked the US tech giant to deposit 10 per cent of the amount.
NCLAT admitted the search giant’s challenge to the CCI slapping Rs 1,337.76-crore fine for abusing the dominant position of its Android smartphone operating system in the country.