Karnataka HC stays CCI probe against Amazon, Flipkart

Our Bureau/Agencies Bengaluru | Updated on February 14, 2020 Published on February 14, 2020

The Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered a stay on the Competition Commission of India’s probe into violation of competition laws by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart.

The court has asked the respondents in the matter including CCI and Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) to file their responses within eight weeks.

ED probe

The High Court was of the view that the ongoing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate should first be completed. Last year, the ED initiated investigation against both Amazon and Flipkart for alleged violation of the foreign exchange law.

Amazon had on Monday filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking a stay on the CCI probe order into its alleged violations of the competition laws. The anti-trust body had in January ordered an enquiry into the operations of both Amazon and Flipkart over serious allegations of violation of competition law including practices such as predatory pricing, deep discounting, preferential seller listing, exclusive partnerships and private labels, by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM), an affiliate of CAIT whose members comprise many MSME traders.

In its plea, Amazon had sought “quashing and setting aside” of the CCI’s probe order dated January 13, 2020, claiming that the fair competition watchdog passed orders against the company without applying its mind and caused serious loss to its reputation.

Amazon had pleaded for an interim stay on the proceedings as the balance of convenience for stay lies in favour of the petitioner as a bona fide company.

“While we welcome and respect the decision of the Honourable High Court of Karnataka, this is just a step in the legal process. We are confident about our compliance,” said an Amazon spokesperson.

CAIT to appeal

Both CAIT and Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh has decided to file an appeal against the order of the High Court very soon and both are consulting their respective lawyers. Meanwhile, CAIT will push the Centre to speed up the ED investigation.

In this context, a CAIT delegation will soon meet Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

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Published on February 14, 2020
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