The Supreme Court recently declined to temporarily prevent Google from removing apps from its Play Store if they fail to comply with its billing policy. This decision came during the hearing of appeals filed by digital start-ups and app developers challenging the Madras High Court’s dismissal of petitions contesting Google’s new billing policy.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra heard the appeals. The appellants sought relief against the High Court’s ruling. However, CJI Chandrachud, while refusing to stay the High Court order, stated, “They (Google) have succeeded before the High Court, how can we stay this? Let us issue notice on the petitions.” The case was scheduled for the next hearing on March 19.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi represented the app developers, while Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for Google.
Earlier in January, the High Court had dismissed the start-ups’ appeal against a single-judge verdict upholding Google’s billing policy, which imposed a service fee of up to 26 percent for paid app downloads and in-app purchases on the Google Play Store. While redirecting the appeals to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the division bench of the High Court had granted the start-ups three weeks’ interim protection against delisting from the Google Play Store.