Search giant Google has decided to appeal against a judgement from India’s competition watchdog that found it guilty of “search bias”. The company has now filed an appeal with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), reports Reuters.
The report quotes sources claiming that Google filed the appeal with NCLAT on Monday. The appeal comes after the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a fine of Rs 1.36 billion (or $20.95 million) on the search giant back in February. The top watchdog said Google abused its dominance in the online web search, and online search advertising markets. Google has not directly offered a comment on its appeal.
However, a CCI official has said that its judgement was “robust”, and it plans to defend its verdict at the NCLAT. “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 CCI said in its 190-page judgment.
The fine imposed by CCI in February is the latest setback for the search giant relating to antitrust case. In its verdict, the CCI said Google had abused its market power through its search design by placing its commercial flight search function at a prominent position on the search results page. It said the prominent placement for Google Flights service affected businesses trying to gain market share in the country.
The stance taken by CCI was similar to that of European Commission, which imposed a record fine of 2.4 billion euro (or $3 billion) on the world’s popular search engine last year. It found Google favoring its own shopping service, and demoting rival services in search results. Google has appealed against that verdict as well.
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The CCI commenced its probe on Google, its market dominance and abuse of power in 2012 after matchmaking website Bharat Matrimony and a not-for-profit organization, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), filed a complaint against the search platform. It is not immediately clear when NCLAT plans to hear Google’s appeal, but a verdict in favor of CCI can have wide-ranging implications as far as online competition is concerned.