The Supreme Court on Monday asked Google India, locked in a legal battle over a hefty Rs 1,337 crore penalty, if it will follow the same regime in India as it does in Europe with regard to pre-installed apps in Android-based mobile smartphones.
The top court was hearing a plea of the US tech giant against an order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) refusing an interim stay on the competition regulator imposing a Rs 1,337 crore penalty on it.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and J B Pardiwala asked senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the US firm, to clarify this aspect at the next hearing.
“Will Google practise the same regime in India as you have it in Europe? Please reflect on this and come back. We will hear this case on Wednesday,” the bench said.
The observation came after Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman, appearing for the Competition Commission of India (CCI), submitted that Google had complied with a similar order passed by the European Commission.
The ASG alleged the company was discriminating against the Indian consumers.
Singhvi submitted the compliance in Europe pertained to Google’s standard ‘Mobile Application Distribution Agreement’ (MADA) unbundling.
The NCLAT had on January 4 refused an interim stay on an order of the competition regulator and had asked Google to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount.
The NCLAT admitted the search giant’s challenge to the CCI slapping a Rs 1,337.76 crore fine for abusing the dominant position of its Android smartphone operating system in the country.
Singhvi had earlier mentioned the matter seeking an urgent hearing.
The senior lawyer said extraordinary directions have been passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the order has to be complied with by January 19.
The CCI had in October last year asked Google to allow smartphone users on the Android platform to uninstall apps and let them select a search engine of their choice.
That order was to become effective from January 19.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)