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Government e Marketplace (GeM) and Competition Commission of India (CCI) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on 6th February 2019 to enable a fair and competitive environment in the e-Marketplace.  Chairman CCI, A.K. Gupta, CEO GeM, S. Radha Chauhan, Members of CCI, U.C. Nahta and Sangeeta Verma were present on the occasion along with officers of CCI and GeM.

Both CCI and GeM appreciate the importance of advanced analytical tools and processes for identification of malpractices like cartelization. In order to pool their knowledge of the public procurement domain for detection of Anti-competitive practices, the MoU has been signed.

GeM is a state-of-the-art national public procurement platform of Ministry of Commerce and Industries, that has used technology to remove entry barriers for bonafide sellers and has created a vibrant e-marketplace with a wide range of goods and services.

Competition Commission of India is a statutory body of the Government of India, responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an adverse effect on competition.

Source: PIB

Picture Credits: PIB

Ministry of Commerce & Industry

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): The Three-Member Bench comprising of Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairperson and Augustine Peter and U.C. Nahta as members dismissed a case for anti-competitive practices for lack of merits.

This petition has been filed under Section 19 (1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 by informant against the opposite party alleging contravention of the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Act for controlling horse racing activity and imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions for getting results in their favour. It has been further alleged that the opposite party were either race horse owners and stud farm owners or breeders having a direct interest in the horse races and also betting activities were independently performed, profit of which went to the party which further explains their vested interest in the same.

The opposite party argued that the game/ sport of horse racing is primarily governed by the Bombay Race Course Licensing Act, 1912, Section 3 of which provides that “no horse race can be held save and except on a race course for which license for racing is granted in accordance with the provisions of this Act.” Also, any objections regarding any race event takes place under a close public vigil and there was no scope for foul play or mischief. With regard to the betting allegations, the case K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of T.N., (1996) 2 SCC 226 was quoted which clarified that betting for horse racing was legalized in India which was being performed after obtaining a license under the above act. Coming to the abuse of dominance under Section 4 it stated that it was involved in only 23% of the events.

The Commission observed that not only were the allegations vague and without substance but the informant also has not been able to demonstrate as to how the allegations attract the provisions of Section 3 of the Act and accordingly there was no case of contravention. [Habib Rajmohamad Patel v. Royal Western (India) Turf Club Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine CCI 3, order dated 15-01-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): The Bench comprising of Sudhir Mital, Chairperson and Augustine Peter, U.C. Nahta and G.P. Mittal, Members, while addressing information being filed under Section 19(1)(a) for contravention of provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act, 2002, found no prima facie case made out.

In the present matter the factual matrix of the case stands out in the following manner, the Informant has alleged OP-Timex Group India Ltd. of indulging in anti-competitive conduct/practices. Informant was responsible for selling OP’s wrist watches on e-commerce platforms. The following were the allegations placed against the OP:

  • OP is indulging in Resale Price Maintenance with its distributors in contravention of Section 3 (4)(e) of the Competition Act, 2002.
  • OP discriminated the Informant against other e-commerce players by limiting the market for distribution of the OP and in violation of Sections 3(3)(a), 3(3)(b) and 3(3)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002.
  • OP instructed its retailers/service centres against providing after-sale services to the wrist watches being sold by the Informant, which resulted in the deprivation of consumer service in contravention of Section 3(4)(d) of the Act.
  • OP has also been alleged to file a frivolous suit against Informant saying that OP is engaged in manufacturing of counterfeit wrist watches of the OP.
  • Agreements entered between the OP and its dealers/distributors created an appreciable adverse effect on competition in contravention of Sections 4 and 3 of the Act.

The Commission on perusal of the allegations been placed upon and conducting an exhaustive hearing with multiple dates for the same and going through in-depth proceedings by patiently taking up the contentions of both the parties and explaining its own stance on the allegations, Commission found no contravention of the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 and ordered the matter to be closed under Section 26 (2) of the Act. [Counfreedise v. Timex Group India Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine CCI 67, Order dated 14-08-2018]

Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): While rejecting a complaint filed by a retired Wing Commander alleging that Director General of Health Services (DGHS) was abusing its dominance for empanelment of private hospitals for purpose of healthcare and medical services to Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) beneficiaries in Delhi-NCR region, CIC dismissed the allegations of anti-competitive practices against DGHS, Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), Quality Council of India and National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH). It was submitted in the complaint that an office memorandum was issued by DGHS for fresh empanelment of private hospitals and revision of package rates applicable under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) in Delhi wherein it prescribed different rates of reimbursement to the private hospitals based on their accreditation with NABH. The complainant contended that the said office memorandum does not spell out any rationale or logic behind the different rates of payment for treatment of a disease or medical condition as there is no relationship between NABH accreditation and efficacy of treatment offered by a hospital. It was also alleged that such a categorization of hospitals is based on wrong presumption of efficacy of NABH accreditation without any scientific basis and DGHS has colluded with the other Opposite Parties to give benefit to a selected few hospitals having NABH accreditation and reimburse them with payments at higher rates compared to other hospitals without NABH accreditation. CIC observed that “For applicability of the provisions of Section 4, the entity or entities in question must be an enterprise in terms of section 2 (h) of the Act. In the instant case the allegations of the Informant primarily against DGHS which is working under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The activities being performed by DGHS cannot be covered in the definition of ‘enterprise’ because it is not directly engaged in any economic and commercial activities. Its role is limited to control and regulate the health care system in the country”. While holding that no prima facie case is made out against the opposite parties CIC rejected the contentions of complainant and held, “The different rates prescribed by DGHS for NABH accredited hospitals cannot be considered as anti-competitive in any manner, rather it would act as an incentive to non-accredited hospitals to secure such accreditation and provide quality health care services, which will ultimately benefit the patients.” (Dr. Biswanath Prasad Singh v. Director General of Health Services, Case No. 20 of 2014, decided on June 23, 2014)

To read the full judgment, refer to SCCOnLine