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India – No Opportunity Of Hearing For Parties Before Directing DG To Conduct Further Investigation.

22 October, 2013

 


In an order pronounced on September 2, 2013, Justice V. K. Jain of the Delhi High Court (‘DHC’) interpreted Section 26(7) of the Act to hold that, if the CCI is opinion that further investigation is called for in a matter and directs DG to conduct such investigation, it is not bound to issue notices or provide an opportunity of hearing to parties against whom an investigation has been initiated.


The order by DHC was issued in relation to a writ petition filed by South Asia LPG Company Private Limited (‘SA LPG Co.’). In 2011, East India Petroleum Private Limited (‘EIPPL’) had filed a complaint with CCI alleging abuse of dominance by SA LPG Co. in the provision of port terminal services. After forming a prima facie opinion on the validity of the complaint, CCI directed DG to investigate the allegations. DG, in his report, did not find any contravention by SA LPG Co. While examining DG’s findings, CCI noted an application filed by EIPPL requesting cross-examination of SA LPG Co.’s witness. In order to obtain a complete picture in respect of the safety and technical concerns raised by EIPPL in its complaint, and to verify the accuracy of the statements made by the witness, CCI opined that EIPPL should have been granted an opportunity of cross-examination. On this basis, CCI referred the matter to DG for allowing EIPPL to cross-examine the relevant witnesses alone. This direction of CCI was assailed before DHC.


Referring to the Supreme Court decision in Competition Commission of India v. Steel Authority of India, DHC held that since the Act did not require any notice to be issued before directing investigation by DG, there would be no reason to imply that such a notice should be issued by CCI before directing DG to investigate further.

 

AZB

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Zia Mody, AZB & Partners
[email protected]

 

Abhijit Joshi, AZB & Partners 
[email protected]


Shuva Mandal, AZB & Partners 
[email protected]

 

Samir Gandhi, AZB & Partners
samir.gandhi[email protected]


Percy Billimoria, AZB & Partners 
[email protected]

 

Aditya Bhat, AZB & Partners 
[email protected]

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