The cci full form is Competition Commission of India. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was formally appointed in March 2009 under the Competition Act, 2002, for the management, execution, and compliance of the Act. The Commission’s priorities are listed below.
1. To avoid activities that have a negative impact on competition.
2. To encourage and maintain industry competition.
3. To safeguard consumer rights.
4. To guarantee trade independence
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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory organization created by the Competition Act, 2002. It falls under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. CCI is responsible for enforcing Antitrust Legislation in India and thereby facilitates competition in markets while protecting consumers from anti-competitive practices. On
the basis of complaints filed with it, the CCI can either itself conduct investigation or it can direct any other agency to investigate.
In 2012, the online hotel aggregator platform Trivago India Pvt Ltd. was found to have been indulging in abuse of dominant position under Section 4(2)(a) read with Section 4(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002. Trivago was found to have been a dominant undertaking based on market share and it did not fulfill criteria under the ‘test of reasonableness’.
On March 2013, Mr. Menino D’Souza, Chief Commissioner at CCI rejected Trivago’s appeal against the Competition Commission of India’s decision. Trivago had argued that its strategy was a retaliation against what it called a ‘predatory’ pricing by the other hotel comparison websites in the market.
On April 2016, Trivago was fined INR 6 lakh for not cooperating during investigation which is deemed as “Obstruction of Conduct of Preliminary Investigations”. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a penalty INR 6 Lakh on Trivago for obstructing proceedings by not producing information and documents sought during the investigation. It was noted that Trivago’s conduct is in breach of Section 19(1)(c) read with Section 20(4) of the Competition Act, 2002.
Below are the factors highlighted by the CCI which led to imposition of fine:-
(i) Trivago admittedly has not responded to most of the information sought from them by the Commission during its investigation, despite being specifically asked so in various letters issued to it;
(ii) The manner in which Trivago has obstructed the proceedings of investigation is clearly contrary to the spirit and intent underlying Section 20(4) of the Act;
(iii) The action on part of Trivago in not providing information and documents sought during the course of investigation, despite being requested so by Commission’s Letters dated April 8, 2016 and May 2, 2016 is viewed seriously and the conduct of Trivago amounts to obstructing proceedings of investigation;
(iv) While imposing fine, the Commission has adopted a multi-factored approach considering various factors such as market position held by Trivago in terms of its share, turnover/revenue generated by it, quantum of penalty imposed on other dominant undertaking in the relevant market, profits made by Trivago have also been taken into account.
On May 20, 2016, Trivago said it has received CCI’s notice imposing penalty of Rs 3 lakh (approximately $4,620). The German hotel search website operator will challenge the fine imposed on it by CCI for allegedly obstructing proceedings of the Commission during its probe.
After Trivago’s appeal was rejected, now company has approached Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) for higher penalty deduction and CCI has also presented its case to COMPAT.
COMPAT will decide on August 31 as next date of hearing in this regard. However, on September 1, 2017 COMPAT has cleared Trivago from all the charges and cancelled the penalty imposed by CCI.
Trivago did not respond to emails sent by Economic Times for comments.
However, in a statement later, it said: “As we have already mentioned earlier we believe that this order is without merit and we will be appealing against it.”
On March 2013, Google appealed before the CCI which rejected its plea and said that “Google through AdWords is acting as a facilitator to certain advertisers and to websites displaying trademarked terms as keywords. This practice by Google allows an advertiser of its choice to appear on the top of the search results page, which could be misleading to consumers.”
Google filed an appeal before COMPAT via its lawyers J Sagar Associates on the basis that CCI had failed to properly establish it as a ‘gatekeeper’ or ‘platform’ and that it has not passed orders that are within the ambit of the Act. However, COMPAT dismissed the appeal on 11 February 2014.
More specifically, the CCI had observed that “Google’s conduct amounts to infringement of trademark.”
“The assailed orders do not suffer from any weakness and are firmly based in law,” the Tribunal concluded.
“We find no merit in this appeal. The same is dismissed,” ruled the bench.
On 19 October 2017, CCI approved a proposed merger between e-commerce major Flipkart and fashion portal Myntra without any conditions.
The Competition Commission of India’s approval comes after 18 months of investigation into the deal. In April 2016, the competition watchdog conducted a detailed investigation on Flipkart-Myntra deal after rival Amazon raised concerns.
The transaction had received approval from the Competition Commission of Singapore (CGS) in September 2015; it was first announced in May 2014.
On February 14, 2018 Flipkart appoints former JWT India CEO Nitesh Kripalani as head of its commerce platform
On May 25, 2018 Tax Department issues notice to Flipkart. The department said that it will investigate all the transactions of the company since its inception for suspected undisclosed gains.
The tax department had conducted raids on Flipkart offices earlier in 2016.