Millennium Post

CCI struggles to defend itself against Compat’s rap

With <g data-gr-id="45">Compat</g> coming down heavily on some Competition Commission members for passing an order without being present for hearings, CCI chief Ashok Chawla on Friday said such instances do not result in “great miscarriage of justice”.

The comments came against the backdrop of Competition Appellate Tribunal recently saying that two Commission members signing an order without being present for hearing amounts to “flagrant violation of the basics of natural justice”.  “The members look at written submissions which are equally important in addition to the oral submissions. We don’t think there is any great miscarriage of justice but we respect the judgement and we will try to adhere to it more strictly in the future,” Chawla, who is the Chairman of Competition Commission of India (CCI), told reporters here.

He noted that Compat’s remarks are based on a particular hearing where some CCI members were not present. “But it is also a fact that hearings go over a long period of time. They are not essentially related to one particular day, it is possible that on some day some member may not be present,” Chawla said. Compat had made the observation while passing an order on an appeal filed by All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists against a CCI ruling.

“It deserves to be mentioned that two of the five members who signed the impugned order had joined the Commission after more than 1-1/2 months of the date of hearing. “Therefore, the only possible inference which can be drawn is that they had mechanically signed the order and such an order cannot but be treated as vitiated due to flagrant violation of the basics of natural justice,” <g data-gr-id="29">Compat</g> had said in its order in April.

Meanwhile, on the net neutrality issue, Chawla said it is a policy issue which the telecom regulator is looking into. About alleged <g data-gr-id="28">cartelisation</g> by airlines in fixing airfares, Chawla said CCI has again started investigating the matter after receiving some fresh complaints. In previous investigations, the regulator had not found anything adverse, he added. 

Approves acquisition of Birla Textile Mills
 The Competition Commission has approved the Rs 233-crore deal for the acquisition of Birla Textile Mills (BTM) by Sutlej Textiles and Industries. “The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has communicated to us their approval,” Sutlej Textiles and Industries said in a filing to the BSE. Birla Textile Mills is the textile division of Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals, located at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh. “The consideration for <g data-gr-id="62">purchase</g> of BTM from Chambal works out be Rs 232.63 crore (including net current assets) subject to closing and other <g data-gr-id="63">adjustments,</g> if any,” Sutlej Textiles and Industries had earlier said. 
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