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Here’s why the Madras HC dismissed petitions filed by Indian companies against Google Play billing policy

The petitioners argued that Google’s policy violates various provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 and the antitrust order issued by the India’s competition regulator in October 2022.

The Madras High Court on January 19 dismissed the appeals filed by over a dozen Indian companies challenging the new Google Play billing policy, noting that the matter falls under the purview of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). You can access a PDF of the full order here. The petitioners had asked the court to declare Google's new billing policy as illegal and unenforceable as it violates various provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 and the antitrust order issued by the CCI in October 2022. You can read a summary of the arguments made by Matrimony.com, which was the first to approach the Madras HC, here. Others who filed similar petitions later included Shaadi.com, InfoEdge, Unacademy, Truly Madly, Aha, Altt, Disney+ Hotstar, Kuku FM, QuackQuack, Stage, Kutumb, Pratilipi, Ananda Vikatan, Crafto, and Testbook. However, in August 2023, a single judge of the court dismissed these petitions observing that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the competition regulator and that the remedy under the Competition Act is more comprehensive than that available before a civil court. Additionally, the judge said that Section 61 of the Competition Act forbids civil courts from hearing any complaints that the Commission is looking into. And for the allegations around payments, the RBI is the expert and has the power to look into the violations of the PSS Act, the judge ruled. On January 19, the division bench of the Madras High Court, comprising…

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