The high-profile anti-trust battle in the Google’s appeal in the CCI’s Android ruling case moved a step closer to finality with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday reserving the judgement, more than a month after it began hearing the matter on February 15.

On the concluding day, both Google and CCI counsels made brief rejoinder submissions before NCLAT bench comprising Ashok Bhushan, Chairperson and Alok Srivastava, Member (Technical), who closed the arguments and reserved the matter for order. The NCLAT order is now expected before March 31, the deadline given by Supreme Court in its landmark ruling on January 19.

During the last week, the NCLAT Bench allowed the intervenors —Epic Games, MapMyIndia and OSlabs Technology— to make their respective submissions. However, no formal order was passed on their impleadment applications and that is likely to be decided when the final order is issued by the Appellate Tribunal.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had on October 20 last year, in its Android ruling, imposed a penalty of ₹1,337 crore on Google and issued ten non-monetary directions to the tech giant for its anti-competitive conduct in various markets in the Android ecosystem.

The Android appeal case before the NCLAT is a high-profile legal battle that has been ongoing for several years. The case centres around allegations of anti-competitive practices by Google, particularly in relation to its Android operating system. It is an important legal battle that highlights the issue of anti-competitive practices by tech giants such as Google. 

Far-reaching implications

The case is significant not just for India, but for other countries as well, as it underscores the need for strong competition laws that can keep pace with rapidly evolving technology markets.

Other countries may also look to follow India’s lead in scrutinizing the practices of Big Tech companies. Google, for its part, has faced similar allegations of anti-competitive practices in other jurisdictions, including the European Union and the United States.

Ultimately, the outcome of the Android appeal case in India will have far-reaching implications for the tech industry and the future of competition law.

Story so far

It maybe recalled that Google had on January 24 this year filed an application before the NCLAT seeking an expedited hearing in the Android matter to ensure its timely disposal in line with the directions of the Supreme court.

While declining to interfere with the NCLAT order of January 4 in the CCI’s Android ruling, the Supreme Court had on January 19 in its ruling directed the Appellate Tribunal to dispose of Google’s appeal by March 31.  

The SC had declined to grant stay on the ten non-monetary directions issued by CCI in its October 20 ruling last year. The apex court had, however, extended the period of compliance on CCI’s ruling on Android matter by another week, and this expired on January 26.

NCLAT, had on January 4, in the Google appeal matter declined to give an interim stay against the CCI ruling of October 20 last year and agreed to admit appeal on pre-deposit of 10 per cent of overall penalty of ₹1,337 crore. Google went in appeal before SC against this NCLAT order that refused an interim stay. 

Google contended that NCLAT had erred in summarily rejecting its request for a stay on the ten non-monetary directions (Remedial Directions) on an inadequate and unjustifiable reason. Tech giant had contended that the tribunal had erred in making the admission of the Google’s NCLAT appeal against the Commission’s order subject to a pre-deposit amount.