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Competition Commission of India (CCI): The coram comprising of Ashok Kumar Gupta (Chairperson) and Sangeeta Verma, Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, (Members) dismissed the complaint against Swiggy which accused it of unfair pricing.

Swiggy provides an online platform to the customers for ordering food from a wide range of neighbourhood partner restaurants listed on its platform.

The Swiggy app/ website page shows a whole list of restaurants to order from and once the restaurant is selected and order placed, the restaurant which has its own Swiggy application receives the order details and starts preparing the order.

Informants submit that, Swiggy typically charges a commission on the total order bill amount (which is inclusive of GST) from the partner restaurant. On the other hand, Swiggy charges delivery fee from the customer which generally ranges from Rs. 20- 100.

At times, Swiggy also charges more based on a surge in delivery prices in times of high demand, rains, special occasions and midnight delivery.

Allegations

Swiggy through its website/app charges higher than the rate offered by respective restaurants in their outlets over and above the delivery charges.

Informants submitted bills of restaurant and screenshot of Swiggy website to indicate the difference in prices of same dishes being ordered at the restaurant and from the Swiggy platform.

Unfair Price

Thus, in view of the above, informants have alleged that the OP is acting in contravention of Section 4(2)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 by imposing unfair price.

Submissions by Swiggy

Swiggy submitted its response on the stated information in public and confidential version.

Swiggy added to its submissions that it only operates as an intermediary and the prices displayed on the platform are directly uploaded by the restaurants and the decision with regard to the prices solely depends on the restaurants.

Swiggy averred that as and when it receives complaints from buyers who find discrepancies between the prices listed on the Platform and the Partners’ menus, the same are escalated to the Partners for action as Swiggy cannot control, alter or affect the prices of items listed on its Platform.

With respect to dominance, Swiggy has claimed that it is not dominant in the relevant market and Zomato is its nearest competitor.

Decision

Commission notes that Swiggy has denied the allegations with reference to the contractual agreement it has entered into with its Partners (restaurants) seeking them to maintain a uniform price of food items sold by such Partners to customers when dealing with them directly or through the platform of Swiggy.

Thus, the above indicates that the allegations against Swiggy do not appear to be substantiated.

Hence, satisfied with the averments placed by Swiggy that it has no role to play in the pricing of the products offered by the restaurants on the platform, Commission finds no prima facie case of contravention of provisions of Section 4 of the Act. [Prachi Agarwal v. Swiggy, 2020 SCC OnLine CCI 22 , decided on 19-06-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Given the current COVID-19 outbreak in India, it is important that restaurants and other hospitality units take suitable measures to restrict any further transmission of the virus while providing restaurant services.

Restaurants in containment zones shall remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.

List of Do’s and Dont’s:

i. Takeaways to be encouraged, instead of Dine-In. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at customer’s door. DO NOT handover the food packet directly to the customer.

ii. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.

iii. Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.

iv. Only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed.

v. All staff and patrons to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/masks has to be worn at all times inside the restaurant.

vi. Posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently.

vii. Staggering of patrons to be done, if possible.

viii. Adequate manpower shall be deployed by restaurant management for ensuring social distancing norms.

ix. All employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions, to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public. Restaurant management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible.

x. Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises – duly following social distancing norms shall be ensured.

xi. Additional patrons to be seated in a designated waiting area with norms of social distancing.

xii. Valet parking, if available, shall be operational with operating staff wearing face covers/ masks and gloves as appropriate. A proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. of the vehicles should be taken up.

xiii. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.

xiv. Preferably separate entry and exits for patrons, staff and goods/supplies shall be organized.

xv. Required precautions while handling supplies, inventories and goods in the restaurant shall be ensured. Proper queue management and disinfection shall be organized.

xvi. Maintaining physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, when queuing up for entry and inside the restaurant as far as feasible.

xvii. Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.In restaurants, not more than 50% of seating capacity to be permitted.

xviii. Disposable menus are advised to be used.

xix. Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged.

xx. Buffet service should also follow social distancing norms among patrons.

xxi. Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms.

xxii. Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged.

xxiii. For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30oC, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.

xxiv. Large gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited.

xxv. Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas.

xxvi. Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all guest service area and common areas.

xxvii. Proper disposal of face covers / masks / gloves left over by patrons and/or staff should be ensured.

xxviii. Deep cleaning of all washrooms shall be ensured at regular intervals.

xxix. Adequate crowd and queue management to be ensured to ensure social distancing norms.

xxx. Staff / waiters should wear mask and hand gloves and take other required precautionary measures.

xxxi. Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) to be encouraged.

xxxii. Tables to be sanitized each time customer leaves.

xxxiii. In the kitchen, the staff should follow social distancing norms at work place. Kitchens area must be sanitized at regular intervals.

xxxiv. Gaming Arcades/Children play areas (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.

xxxv. In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises:

a. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.

b. Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor.

c. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.

d. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.

e. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[SOP dt. 4-06-2020]

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