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NCLAT to pronounce verdict in Google Android case on Wednesday

After the apex court refused to grant interim relief to Google on January 19, the matter was sent back to NCLAT for the final order by March 31

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Bhavini Mishra New Delhi

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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) will on March 29 give its judgment on Google’s plea against the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s order imposing a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the Android ecosystem.

A Bench of NCLAT Chairperson Justice Ashok Bhushan and Dr Alok Srivastava, member (technical), had reserved its verdict on March 20 after hearing the arguments for over a month.

The CCI had on October 20, 2022, penalised the tech giant and asked it to pay Rs 1,337.76 crore for practices related to Android devices. Google was earlier given three months to comply with the CCI’s directive and its deadline ended on January 19. The tech giant then moved the NCLAT on December 22, and on January 4, the appellate tribunal asked Google to pay 10 percent of Rs 1,337.76 crore in three weeks.
The judgment will be pronounced at 2 pm.


After the apex court refused to grant interim relief to Google on January 19, the matter was sent back to NCLAT for the final order by March 31.

Google had argued before the NCLAT that the CCI order imposing a fine of Rs 1,337.76 crore on it for allegedly misusing its dominant position in the Android ecosystem was without any inquiry or analysis.
 
The tech giant said CCI itself had recognised that Google’s Mobile Application Distribution Agreement (MADA) was beneficial to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Once recognised, there can be no imposition of unfair terms, OEMs are free to install any other browser on the system, and, unlike Apple devices till 2020, Google Chrome is not the default browser on Android systems, it submitted.

Meanwhile, the CCI told NCLAT that Google is not just a ‘dominant’ undertaking but a ‘super dominant” one.

Citing judgments of the Supreme Court of India and other foreign jurisdictions concerning Google, the CCI argued that competition law casts a mandatory obligation on Google to not abuse its dominant position and thereby confers a special responsibility on Google not to allow its conduct to impair genuine undistorted competition. An abuse by Google must therefore be dealt with iron hands, the ASG had said.

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First Published: Mar 28 2023 | 9:39 PM IST

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