Amazon, Flipkart probe: SC declines to entertain CCI plea to remove Karnataka High Court stay

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 26, 2020

Asks competition panel to approach Karnataka HC

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) plea to vacate stay by the Karnataka High Court in the matter relating to competition watchdog’s probe against Amazon and Flipkart over alleged anti-competitive practices.

The apex court has, however, given liberty to CCI to approach the Karnataka High Court and file an application to vacate the stay. Once this application is filed, the Karnataka High Court has six weeks to decide on the application. The apex court has requested the Karnataka High Court to dispose of the matter expeditiously, preferably within six weeks from the date the application is filed, legal experts said.

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It maybe recalled that CCI had on January 13 ordered a probe against Amazon, Flipkart on alleged anti competitive practices on a case filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh under Section 3 of the Competition Act.

This Delhi-based association had alleged that both Amazon and Flipkart were indulging in exclusive arrangements with smartphone makers, preferential treatment to some sellers and deep discounting. The CCI had said there was prima facie case and had asked its Director General to investigate both companies.

Flipkart and Amazon had moved the Karnataka HC against the CCI order, asking for the order to be quashed and be given an interim stay.

The Karnataka High Court had on February 14 granted an interim stay on the CCI order and had asked all the parties to come back with more evidence and details in two months.

The CCI had on September 21 appealed in the Supreme Court against Karnataka High Court’s interim stay.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders ( CAIT), while hailing the apex court’s order, said that both CAIT and Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh have already filed an appeal in two-judge Bench of the Karnataka High Court challenging the single judge bench order of the High Court made on February 14.

Commenting on the SC move, Abdullah Hussain, Partner, L&L Partners said the order by the Supreme Court was expected since the CCI didn’t approach the High Court first for urgent disposal or file an intra court appeal before the Division Bench.

Published on October 26, 2020

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