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Google moves Delhi High Court challenging orders of single judge’s Bench

Google moves Delhi High Court challenging orders of single judge’s Bench

Today, Google moved the Delhi high court challenging the single judge’s direction to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to decide the applications filed by the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) against the tech giant’s new user-choice billing policy.

Yesterday, the single-judge bench of Justice Tushar Gedela directed CCI to decide the matter on or before April 26 and senior counsel Sandeep Sethi, representing Google, told the court on Tuesday that the matter would be heard by the competition watchdog at 2.30 pm the same day. He contended that the CCI cannot hear the matter due to the lack of quorum.

“There is no impediment, legal or otherwise, in directing the CCI to take up the applications under Section 42 (contravention of CCI orders) of the Act, as filed by the petitioner, for hearing and considering the same in accordance with the law on or before April 26, 2023. Accordingly, the petition stands disposed of in the above terms,” said the court.

Last year in October 2022, the competition watchdog slapped a fine on Google for its Google Play Billing System (GPBS), which was the only payment method available for app developers and Google used to charge 15-30% commission. The CCI directed Google to allow third-party payment options.

ADIF contended that the UCB was a cloaked version of the GPBS, which projects the hoax of giving liberty to app developers to opt for third-party payment processors. ADIF said it filed several applications before CCI against Google’s non-compliance, but CCI was yet to take any action owing to lack of quorum. As a result of this, the market remains vulnerable to abuse of dominant position by Google.

The petitioner had said its grievance was that the CCI has failed to act on its plea in relation to the new policy owing to lack of quorum to consider the issue.

However, a bench of chief justice Satish Chandra Sharma and justice Subramonium Prasad refused to urgently list the matter for Tuesday.

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