Google is planning to move the Supreme Court in appeal against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) ruling in the Android case where the appellate tribunal had reaffirmed the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) penalty of ₹1,337 crore, but set aside four of the ten non-monetary directions of the competition watchdog.
The appeal by Google will be both against the penalty of ₹1,337 crore and the remaining six non-monetary directions that NCLAT wanted Google to comply with, sources said.
Notably, Google has already deposited with the Consolidated Fund of India the entire penalty amount of ₹1,337 crore. Tech giant had deposited the penalty to show their bonafide to the Supreme Court, sources said, adding that Google is going to challenge the entire penalty and the six directions.
Indications are that Google will make the move at the fag end of the 60 days window available to parties to appeal NCLAT ruling before the Apex Court, sources added.
The NCLAT passed its ruling on March 29 and the limitation period would be expiring in last week of May by which time SC would have already proceeded for summer vacation.
Therefore, Google’s appeal against the NCLAT order will come up before Supreme Court in July only after the summer vacation gets over.
The CCI has already decided to file an appeal before SC on the ‘effects doctrine’ issue. Appeals by the CCI and Google are likely to be clubbed and heard together, sources added.
The four directions set aside by NCLAT are related to allowing users to uninstall the preloaded apps, allowing sideloaded apps, sharing of APIs and allowing of third party app stores in Play Store.
The six non-monetary directions that Google had to comply with are: OEMs shall not be restrained from choosing from Google’s proprietary applications to be pre-installed and should not be forced to pre-install a bouquet of applications and deciding the placement of pre-installed apps on their smart devices; licensing of Play Store to OEMs shall not be linked with the requirement of pre-installing Google applications; Google shall not offer any monetary/other incentives to, or enter into any arrangement with, OEMs for ensuring exclusivity for its search services.
Google shall also not impose anti-fragmentation obligations on OEMs and OEMs should be permitted to manufacture/ develop Android forks based smart devices for themselves. Additionally, Google shall not incentivise or obligate OEMs for not selling smart devices based on Android forks; and it shall allow users, during the initial device set-up, to choose their default search engine for all search entry points.