The Supreme Court on Monday announced it would hear appeals against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order, which upheld a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for misuse of Google’s dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem, in January 2024.
The hearing was initially scheduled for 11 October but was postponed to January due to Constitution bench hearings.
After senior advocate Harish Salve, representing Google, and Additional Solicitor General N Venkatraman, representing CCI, requested a date for the hearing, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud indicated the case would likely be heard in the last week of January.
In July, the Supreme Court announced it would hear appeals by Alphabet-owned Google and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on 10 October.
The NCLAT, on 29 March, upheld a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for misuse of its dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem.
The Competition Commission of India filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on 5 June. Google also challenged the NCLAT’s decision to uphold the fine.
Although the NCLAT upheld the fine, it annulled four directions from the competition watchdog that Google was to comply with. CCI is contesting the annulment of these four directions in the Supreme Court.
The Appellate Tribunal annulled the directions related to the non-monetary measures that would have compelled Google to allow the uninstalling of its pre-installed apps on Android devices.
The court also annulled directives that would have obliged Google to allow individual app store developers to distribute their app stores through the Google Play Store.
In addition to the above two directives, the tribunal annulled directives obliging Google to allow app developers to distribute apps through side-loading and not to deny access to its Play Services Application Programming Interface (API) in a way that disadvantages Original Equipment Manufacturers, app developers, and its existing or potential competitors.
The NCLAT dismissed Google’s plea relating to violation of principles of natural justice, among other issues, and instructed the technology giant to cease and desist from participating in anti-competitive practices and to deposit the penalty amount.