The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order directing Google India to deposit a 10 per cent of Rs 1,337.76 crore penalty imposed on the technology giant by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged anti-competitive practices.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala granted Google India one week to comply with the NCLAT order to deposit a 10 per cent penalty. It has sent the matter back to the Tribunal and directed the NCLAT to dispose of the appeal filed by Google by March 31, 2023.
The apex court took into note that NCLAT directed Google to deposit a 10 per cent penalty without deciding the application for a stay. “Findings by CCI cannot be said to be without jurisdiction or with manifest error,” the bench observed.
The Tribunal declining interim relief had posted the plea of Google for hearing in April. After facing a setback at NCLAT, which refused to stay a CCI order on abuse of dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem case, Google approached the Supreme Court.
Google has challenged the January 4 order of the NCLAT which refused to stay the CCI order reasoning that the CCI’s order was passed in October 2022, while the appeal by Google was filed only in December 2022 and hence, no case for interim relief was made out.
Since no urgency was shown in filing the appeal, Google could not be allowed to insist on interim relief, the Tribunal has said. NCLAT has also directed Google to deposit 10 per cent of the Rs 1337.76 crore fine amount within three weeks and posted the matter for hearing in April.
The CCI had, in October 2022, imposed the penalty on Google for abusing its dominant position in multiple markets in the Android mobile device ecosystem and also directed Google to cease and desist from participating in anti-competitive practices.
Google challenged the CCI order in the NCLAT, which is an appellate authority over the CCI against any direction issued by the regulator.