Competition Appellate Tribunal: The Chairperson, Justice G.S. Singhvi, of the Competition Appellate Tribunal who alone is hearing a large number of appeals against CCI orders, compensation applications under the Competition Act, 2002, and transferred cases under the erstwhile MRTP Act, 1969 took a serious note of delays cases by the parties of the cases before the tribunal. It is noteworthy that the CompAT is functioning without its members since last one year, as the government has not filled the vacancy.
The present case for compensation under S. 12-B of the MRTP Act, pending for last seven years, has been adjourned on one or the other pretext in seven years time. In the last one year, as the chairperson observed, there have been five adjournments at hearing before the registrar. Parties were neither appearing nor were submitting any affidavit. The tribunal said that:
“The manner in which the parties have conducted this case gives impression that both the sides are extremely casual and they have taken benefit of the extra liberal attitude exhibited by the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission and the Tribunal. In recent times, it has become a fashion to blame the courts and other adjudicatory bodies for delay in disposal of the cases, though in most of the cases, the parties and their counsel are responsible for this. It is they who seek adjournments on one or the other ground and succeed in delaying final adjudication of the matter.”
To curb such practices of causing delay the tribunal imposes cost of Rs. 20,000 on the respondent company for causing adjournment for the days proceeding. Also, in one of its order in another leading case the tribunal warned Cement Manufacturing Association and the CCI that the cases shall not be adjourned on the next date of hearing and if any miscellaneous application is filed to prolonging the hearing and then the concerned applicant may have to suffer heavy cost. James Kutty v. Tread Stone Limited, 2015 Comp AT 1, order on 07.08.2015