NCLAT upholds ₹1,337cr fine on Google, make some modifications in CCI order

The NCLAT on Wednesday upheld the orders of the fair trade regulator CCI imposing a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on tech major Google in the Android mobile devices case, with some modifications. A two-member bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has directed Google to implement the direction and deposit the amount in 30 days. “We upheld this penalty… The appellant (google) is allowed to deposit the penalty” after adjusting 10 per cent of the amount already deposited as per its previous order of January 4 within a period of 30 days, it said. It also granted Google 30 days time to implement the measures as directed by the Competition Commission of India, which have been upheld by NCLAT. The NCLAT bench comprising Chairperson Justice Ashok Bhushan and Member Alok Shrivastava also made some modifications to the CCI order passed on October 20, 2022. The modifications to the CCI order include striking down some portions related to permission for uninstalling Google suite software, and some other points. It also rejected Google’s plea that there was a violation of natural justice by the CCI in the probe. An e-mail sent to Google for comments did not elicit any response. On October 20 last year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) slapped a penalty of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for anti-competitive practices in relation to Android mobile devices. The regulator had also ordered the internet major to cease and desist from various unfair business practices. This ruling was challenged before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which is an appellate authority over the orders passed by the CCI. Google in its petition had contended the investigation carried against it by the CCI was “tainted”, contending that the two informants on whose complaint the fair trade regulator initiated the enquiry were working at the same office that was investigating the tech major. According to Google’s plea, the CCI failed t