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SC refuses to modify its earlier order against Google

A Bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud declared that it would not alter its order from January 19. “No further explanation is necessary. Go present your appeal before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal.”

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) issued an order on October 20 directing the tech giant to make modifications to its Android environment, but the Supreme Court on Friday declined to overturn its January decision that found against it in the antitrust case involving Android.

Senior attorney Maninder Singh, representing Google, said that the January order needed to be amended or clarified in order to guarantee the separation of only Search and Chrome from the Play Store and Chrome from Search.

Google is “ready and willing” to comply with the directions of the CCI order to the extent that it would ensure the “unbundling of only (i) Search and Chrome from Play, and (ii) chrome from Search.” “In terms of the decision of the European Commission dated July 18, 2018, the appellants would ensure that the search app pre-installation exclusivity on portfolio wide RSAs would not be pursued,” the tech giant said in its modification application.

Supreme Court’s earlier statement:
“This court had the option of either remitting the proceedings to NCLAT or considering whether a case of grant of interim relief is made out. We have adopted the second course of action for two reasons. First, remitting the matter back to NCLAT for a detailed hearing on merits of the application for interim relief would necessitate lengthy arguments, resulting in delay in the final disposal of the appeal in accordance with the time schedule set out in the order of the NCLAT,” it said.

Second, since the proceedings are pending before the NCLAT in appeals, this court while assessing the merits of the order of the CCI should, on the basis of prima facie evaluation, determine whether interference at this stage is warranted, it said.

Referring to the findings of the CCI, it said, “These findings cannot be regarded as contrary to the weight of the records at the interlocutory stage.”

“At the present stage since the appeal is pending before the NCLAT we are desisting from evaluating the merits of the rival submissions which have been urged on behalf of the contesting parties,” it said.

Any expression of opinion by this court on merits would affect the proceedings which are pending before the NCLAT, it said.

Additional Solicitor General N Venkatraman, appearing for the CCI, said Google has been following the similar directions passed by the European Commission in 2018 and here they are having problems.

“See their conduct here. It is different. After making necessary changes in Europe, they are doing the opposite in India,” the law officer said.

“They are talking about security. So when you do this in Europe, you have no security threat. But in India you have threats. This is indicative of continued market slavery. It is feudalistic,” he said. Free Press Journal

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