The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Friday put a stay on the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order imposing a Rs 136-crore penalty ($20.95 billion) on Google after it found the online search giant guilty of search bias.
The NCLAT bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, while admitting Google’s plea against the CCI order, directed it to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount within four weeks. The matter will be next heard 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 CCI, had in February this year, ruled that Google was exploiting its dominance in online web search and online search advertising markets as it imposed a fine of Rs 136 crore on it. “Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so, it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users,” the Indian competition watchdog had said in its 190-page judgment.
The judgment came after a probe initiated in 2012 on an array of complaints filed by matchmaking website Bharat Matrimony and a not-for-profit organisation, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).
Although Google has been dragged to court earlier, however, the judgment passed by the CCI had been a huge setback for the online search giant. In 2016, Google was arraigned before the European Commission, which had imposed 2.4 billion euro ($3 billion) penalty on the company for favouring its shopping service and demoting rival offerings. Google filed an appeal against the ruling.
(With PTI inputs)