Flipkart, Amazon challenge Karnataka HC order allowing CCI probe

Topics Flipkart | Amazon | CCI

On June 12, the High Court had dismissed Amazon and Flipkart's writ petition, allowing antitrust watchdog CCI to continue with its probe.
E-commerce firms Flipkart and Amazon have filed separate appeals before a division Bench of the Karnataka High Court, challenging a single-judge Bench’s order allowing the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to restart its probe into allegations of anti-competitive behaviour against them. Sources said both appeals are likely to be heard on Friday.

While Amazon India declined to comment on the matter, a message sent to Flipkart did not elicit a response. 

“E-commerce players aim to put together a joint fight and are digging their heels in for a long-drawn battle,” said Salman Waris, partner head of TMT and IP practice at Delhi-based TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors.

According to a Reuters report, the fresh appeal from Flipkart, filed on Wednesday, argues that the decision by the Karnataka HC to allow the probe to resume was erroneous and must be put on hold.

Last week, the high court had dismissed the petitions of Amazon and Flipkart, allowing the CCI to continue with its probe. Reports also said the antitrust watchdog had plans to expedite its investigation into the allegations.

The Confederation of All India Traders said that as expected, both Amazon and Flipkart wanted to evade the investigation. “The speed at which they have rushed to the court to file an appeal itself shows their involvement in illegal and mala fide practices causing harm to small merchants and the Indian economy. However, we are committed to fighting the issue at every level,” said Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAIT.

Last year, the CCI announced a probe against Amazon and Flipkart following a complaint by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM), which represents small and medium business owners in Delhi, accusing the two e-commerce giants of favouring some preferred sellers, hurting small businesses. But the two firms had managed to get a stay on the probe.

“It is common knowledge that foreign e-commerce giants have been taking India as a banana republic where the laws bear no prominence and indulged in blatant manipulation,” said Sonam Chandwani, managing partner at KS Legal & Associates.

“While both companies have categorically denied any wrongdoing, their breach of laws has caused damage to the small traders community in India. Therefore, the giants' challenge to ward off the CCI probe into alleged violations of Competition Law seems to be an attempt to mislead the ED's investigation without robust substantiation,” Chandwani added.

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