Agreement between consumer and service provider does not qualify as ‘agreement’ contemplated under Section 3(3) of Competition Act: CCI

Competition Commission of India(CCI): A four-member bench comprising of Sudhir Mital, Chairperson and Augustine Peter, U.C. Nahata and Justice G.P. Mittal, Members closed a matter filed under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 against the U.P. Housing and Development Board (Opposite Party).

The informant was allotted one LIG flat developed by the Opposite Party (OP). The informant filed information under the abovesaid section alleging that the OP, in its project brochure, estimated the cost of the flat at Rs 11.75 lakhs. However, over a period of time, on one or the other pretext, the OP, with malafide intentions, increased the cost of the flat. Resultantly, the informant had to pay over Rs 15 lakhs. It was also alleged that the OP failed to deliver the possession of the flat within 2 years from the date of the allotment as per the terms of the project brochure. The informant claimed that such arbitrary conduct of the OP caused appreciable adverse effect on the competition within India in violation of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1). Violation of the provisions of Section 4 was also alleged.

The Commission perused the information and the documents filed therewith and also considered the material available in public domain. Looking at the nature of allegations, the Commission was of the view that provisions of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1) had no application to the present case. It was observed that the nature of the agreement entered into between the informant and the OP did not qualify as an agreement under Section 3(3) of the Act. The reason being that the two of them were not engaged in identical or similar trade of goods or provision of services. Thus, prima facie, no contravention of the Act was made out against the OP under the aforementioned sections. Regarding violation of Section 4, the Commision held that OP was not a dominant player in the relevant market. In view of the foregoing, the Commission was of the opinion that no case of contravention either under Section 3 or 4 was made out against the OP. Accordingly, the matter was ordered to be closed forthwith under Section 26(2) of the Act. [D.K. Srivastava v. U.P. Housing and Development Board,2018 SCC OnLine CCI 73, dated 14-08-2018]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.