New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Karnataka High Court to decide within six weeks a Competition Commission of India (CCI) plea to vacate a stay on investigations against e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart for alleged “anti-competitive practices”.
If no action was taken by the High Court, the petition could be revived, said a Bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwikar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna while declining to entertain the CCI plea and directing the statutory body to move the High Court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CCI, contended before the apex court bench that the probe was “administrative” in nature against the e-commerce companies and would not affect rights and liberties of any party.
Mehta submitted that the matter was not taken up for hearing by the High Court and that there were wider issues involved in the case. He insisted that the top court should keep the petition pending.
Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the e-commerce companies, contested Mehta’s argument, stating that the CCI had moved the top court after over 200-day delay.
After a brief hearing, the top court said that it was not keen to further hear the matter and said that the High Court would decide it within six weeks.
The CCI order dated January 13, 2020 had observed that there seems to be an exclusive partnership between the two e-commerce companies and the smartphone manufacturers for the exclusive launch of smartphone brands.
The High Court in February had granted an interim relief to the Amazon by staying the investigation into the alleged anti-competitive practices as per the CCI orders. Similarly, Flipkart also moved the High Court, seeking to quash the CCI order for a probe into allegations of anti-competitive practices.
On February 14, the High Court had granted the interim stay on probes against Amazon and Flipkart.
Amazon had urged the High Court to set aside the CCI order as irreparable loss would be caused to its reputation if an investigation was allowed.