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NCLAT stays CCI penalty of Rs 136 crore on Google in search bias case

While admitting the plea of Google against the order, the NCLAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya directed the internet major to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount with it in four weeks.

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 28, 2018  | 09:34 IST
NCLAT stays CCI penalty of Rs 136 crore on Google in search bias case

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday stayed an order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that imposed a penalty of Rs 136 crore on Google for unfair business practices in online search market.

While admitting the plea of Google against the order, the NCLAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya directed the internet major to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount with it in four weeks.

The appellate tribunal has also directed CCI and other respondent in this matter to file their reply-affidavit in next three week.

"In so far as the penalty is concerned, without deciding the question what should be the criteria of relevant turnover for the purpose of imposition of penalty which will be decided after final hearing, we direct that if Appellants (Google) deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount imposed on appellant by way of FDR in favour of Registrar, NCLAT within four weeks, the impugned order so far it relates to penalty also shall remain stayed," the bench said.

Moreover, the tribunal also allowed Google to use 'Google Flight' for its online flight booking search service. "The Appellants will continue to mention Google Flight' in respect to search flight', as brought to our notice," the appellate tribunal said. It had directed to post the matter for hearing on May 28.

A Google spokesperson said: "NCLAT has accepted our appeal for review of aspects of the CCI decision and its associated findings."

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in February this year had imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on search engine major Google for unfair business practices in the Indian market for online search.

Passing the order on complaints that were filed back in 2012, the regulator said the penalty is being imposed on Google for infringing anti-trust conduct.

The penalty amount of Rs 135.86 crore translates to 5 per cent of the company's average total revenue generated from India operations from its different business segments for the financial years 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to the CCI order.

The ruling has come on complaints filed by Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) -- back in 2012 -- against Google LLC, Google India Pvt Ltd and Google Ireland Ltd.

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