Delhi HC Seeks Responses Of Startups, CCI On Google’s Plea


The Delhi High Court has sought responses from several startups and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on a plea filed by Google, which is seeking quashing of the CCI’s probe into itscci

alleged anti-competitive practices in the mobile app market.

The court has asked companies such as MakeMyTrip, Policybazaar, and Razorpay to respond to Google’s petition by May 27, and has directed the CCI to file its response by June 30. The CCI had initiated a probe against Google in 2019 after receiving complaints from several app developers alleging that the tech giant was abusing its dominant position in the mobile app market to promote its own apps and services, and to suppress competition.

Google had approached the Delhi High Court in February 2022, challenging the CCI’s probe and seeking a stay on the investigation. The company had argued that the CCI’s jurisdiction was limited to matters relating to competition law, and that it did not have the power to inquire into issues such as data protection and privacy, which were outside its purview. The court, however, had refused to grant a stay on the probe, and had directed Google to cooperate with the CCI’s investigation. In its latest petition, Google has alleged that the CCI’s probe is based on “non-existent” evidence, and has accused the regulator of acting in an arbitrary and biased manner. The tech giant has also claimed that the CCI’s investigation is causing it “irreparable harm”, and has sought quashing of the probe and a declaration that the CCI does not have jurisdiction to inquire into the matters under investigation.

The case is being closely watched as it could have implications for the broader debate on competition law and data privacy in India.

The case revolves around an investigation initiated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in 2019 against Google for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the mobile operating system and app store market. The CCI had ordered an investigation into the matter based on a complaint filed by advocacy group Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).

In the investigation, the CCI had sought information and documents from various startups in India regarding their billing systems on the Google Play Store. Google had challenged the CCI’s order in the Delhi High Court, stating that it had complied with all of the CCI’s requests for information, and that the CCI’s investigation had overstepped its jurisdiction.

The Delhi High Court had earlier granted Google an interim relief from the CCI’s order, but had also directed Google to cooperate with the investigation and provide the information requested by the CCI. In March 2022, the Delhi High Court had directed the CCI to wrap up its probe against Google within six months.

Now, in the latest development, the Delhi High Court has sought responses from both the CCI and the startups involved in the investigation, including Practo, Razorpay, Swiggy, and Zomato, on Google’s plea seeking clarity on the scope of the investigation and the kind of information sought by the CCI. The matter is expected to be heard again in June 2023.