Why have different standards for India and Europe: SC to Google
The Supreme Court on Monday asked Google why the standards for Android devices in India were different from those in Europe.
This came in response to Google’s appeal against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) order penalising the tech giant, asking it to pay Rs 1,338 crore for practices related to Android devices.
The matter will be heard again on Wednesday.
Google has three months to comply with the CCI’s directive and its deadline is January 19.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud, Justice P S Narasimha, and Justice J B Pardiwala observed that Google, filing an appeal at the last moment, had made it look like the matter needed to be looked into urgently.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) N Venkatraman, who appeared for the CCI, said Google had filed an appeal against the CCI order before the three-month window in the directive ended.
The January 19 deadline is for complying with directions issued by the CCI, which includes allowing Android users to uninstall Apps and select a search engine of their choice.
He said Google was discriminating between consumers in India and those in other regions such as Europe.
“The contention that the 90-day compliance of the CCI order by Google is not possible is wrong since Google has adhered to a similar deadline in the European Union,” the ASG said.
Venkatraman and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for OSLabs Technology, told the court the tech giant was discriminating against a “third world country” like India.
The court asked Google if it would introduce the same regime in India as it had abroad and if the steps the tech giant had taken were inconsistent with the CCI’s directive.
The NCLAT on January 4 had refused to grant an interim stay on the CCI’s order and asked the tech giant to change its business model in India.
While admitting Google’s appeal, the NCLAT had asked it to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount of Rs 1,338 crore, thereby granting some relief.
The next hearing on the matter in the NCLAT has been scheduled for April 3.
Google has said in court the CCI “will force the US company to change how it markets its Android platform”.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, while appearing for Google in the apex court on January 11, said extraordinary directives were passed by the CCI.
“(The) compliance date was January 19 and we filed in December. There is an urgency since the compliance date is almost a week from today,” he said.
Singhvi said the penalty was levied on Google without evidence and after doing a “tainted investigation”.
He said the NCLAT posted the hearing of Google’s appeal in April, which would make it “infructuous”.
At first, the Supreme Court said it would send the matter back to the NCLAT but then posted it for hearing on Wednesday.
Google on Friday hit out at the competition regulator for slapping penalties for alleged abuse of its dominant position, saying the orders struck a blow at the effort to accelerate digital adoption in India and would lead to higher prices.
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