The Delhi HC reportedly refused Google’s appeal for an immediate hearing on its plea
On Monday, the Delhi HC asked the CCI to investigate the complaints filed by the ADIF on Google’s user choice billing
Meanwhile, the CCI began hearing the matter on Tuesday as per the court’s order
Tech giant Google has reportedly filed an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the court’s order asking the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate the complaints filed by industry body Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) on the tech major’s user choice billing system.
Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi sought an urgent listing of Google’s appeal before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad. However, the court refused to list the matter for hearing today, ET reported.
Meanwhile, the CCI started a hearing on the changes introduced by Google in its user choice billing system, which will come into effect on April 26, on Tuesday (April 25) at 2:30 PM, the report said.
To recap, a single-judge bench of Justice Tushar Rao Gedela on Monday (April 24) ordered the CCI to take up the complaints filed by the ADIF, alleging that the user choice billing system is anti-competitive, before April 26.
“There is no impediment, whether legal or otherwise, in directing the CCI to hear the applications filed by the petitioner under Section 42 and decide it on or before April 26,” Justice Gedela was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench on Monday.
Google’s appeal in the court on Tuesday noted that the CCI lacked a quorum to consider the ADIF’s applications. Under the Competition Act, CCI meetings require at least three members to be present to achieve a quorum.
In its April 11 appeal, the ADIF alleged that Google was taking advantage of the lack of quorum to implement the new user choice billing policy in India, and urged the court to issue directions to the CCI to invoke the ‘doctrine of necessity’ which will allow the antitrust watchdog to adjudicate the case without a quorum.
The ADIF, which represents Indian startups, sought an urgent CCI review of Google’s new in-app purchase billing system.
Under the user choice billing system, developers on Google Play Store are allowed to embed third-party payment options. These developers would subsequently be charged 4% less commission, in the range of 11-26%.
The ADIF is opposing the commission which will be charged by Google. Besides, it has also raised concerns about Google accessing the data of those users who choose payment methods other than the Google Play billing system.
Meanwhile, many members of the ADIF have also lambasted Google for its policy.
Matrimony CEO Murugavel Janakiraman called the tech major a ‘threat’ to tech startups in India, having obtained an injunction against Google in the Madras High Court on Monday (April 24). “Google should not be left unchecked as it is a real threat to Indian digital startups,” Janakiraman said.
Similarly, People Group’s founder and CEO Anupam Mittal termed the tech major ‘Digital East India Company’. He told Inc42 that the commission charged by Google was akin to ‘lagaan’ (tax) paid by Indian farmers during the colonial era.