Wednesday 12 February 2020

Amazon moves Bengaluru HC, seeks stay on CCI's probe order

Amazon moves Bengaluru HC, seeks stay on CCI's probe orderNew Delhi: E-commerce giant Amazon, on Monday filed a writ petition in the Bengaluru High Court, demanding a stay on the investigative order against the company for alleged business malpractices.

In its plea dated February 10, Amazon said that the order issued by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) “has been passed without application of mind” and will cause irreparable loss/injury to the goodwill/reputation of the company.

“Its findings are perverse, arbitrary, untenable in law,” Amazon said in its writ petition which is reviewed by ET.

“An interim stay on the proceedings must be granted as the balance of convenience for stay lies in favour of the Petitioner as a bonafide company,” Amazon said in its plea.

Amazon is referring to the anti-trust body’s order dated January 13 to investigate the country’s two major online marketplaces Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart for alleged business malpractices. The Director General is required to submit the investigation report within 60 days of issuing the order.

The order was issued under Section 26(1) of the Competition Act which makes it non-appealable.

The CCI’s order came after a complaint filed by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM), a group representing brick and mortar small businesses. “It needs to be investigated whether the alleged exclusive arrangements, deep-discounting and preferential listing by the OPs (opposite parties) are being used as an exclusionary tactic to foreclose competition and are resulting in an appreciable adverse effect on competition,” the CCI said in its order.

“Since DVM had already filed a caveat with the Bangalore High Court in the past, Amazon will not be able to get an instant stay on the order without our arguments being heard in the Court,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), an ally of DVM in the matter.

Queries sent to Amazon did not illicit any response till the time of filing of this story.

The case is expected to be in listed in the coming two days in the Bangalore High Court, say lawyers.

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