Karnataka HC starts hearing CCI petition against Amazon, Flipkart

Topics Karnataka | Amazon | Flipkart

Last year in October, the CCI appealed in the Supreme Court against the Karnataka High Court’s interim stay on its probe against the e-commerce firms
The Karnataka High Court on Monday heard the petition filed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the probe against e-commerce firms Amazon and Flipkart. This is a continuation of the matter when the Supreme Court in October last year declined to entertain the petition filed by CCI seeking to remove Karnataka High Court’s stay on an investigation that the watchdog had ordered against Amazon and Flipkart related to anti-competitive business practices.

This is because the matter had gone back to the Karnataka High Court. The Supreme Court had asked the Karnataka High Court to decide the CCI plea for vacating the stay on the probe against Amazon and Flipkart for the alleged anti-competitive practices. It asked the High Court to decide on the matter within a period of six weeks.

On Monday, Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium who represented Amazon informed the Court about the allegations raised by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM) against the e-commerce company. These included Amazon having exclusivity deals with phone brands and deep discounting related to products. He told the Court that any discount or slash of the price is done by the dealer or seller of the product.

“Amazon has no say in that. We are only a platform," Subramanium contended, according to the law platform Bar & Bench. “Those (sellers) who have higher ratings, better sales are chosen by the algorithm. They are given rebates but really speaking, there is no preference given by Amazon to its sellers.”

The matter will be heard next on January 20, 2021.

Last year in October, the CCI appealed in the Supreme Court against the Karnataka High Court’s interim stay on its probe against the e-commerce firms. The matter was heard by a single-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court. The judge, upon hearing every party, decided that he would hear the petition of Amazon and Flipkart for final disposal including the petition of CCI on 18 January 2021.

Both Amazon and Flipkart preferred to file a writ petition in February 2020 in Karnataka High Court challenging the order of investigation of CCI pursuant to an information filed by Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM) and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). The single judge ordered a stay on the investigation, to which the CCI filed a petition before the Supreme Court in October 2020 with the prayer for vacating the said stay.

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