Karnataka HC Junks Appeals By Amazon, Flipkart To Stop CCI Probe Into Smartphone Sales

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The Karnataka High Court today dismissed the pleas filed by Amazon and Flipkart challenging a probe initiated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged competition law violations.

A Division Bench of Justices Satish Chandra Sharma and Natraj Rangaswamy passed the order in a batch of appeals moved by the e-commerce giants against a June 11 order of a Single Judge of the High Court.

While dismissing the plea, the Bench held, “By no stretch of imagination can inquiry be quashed at this stage…Appellants should not be afraid of investigation of CCI…In the considered opinion of the Court, appeals filed by appellants are devoid of merit and deserved to be dismissed…” .

The matter was reserved for judgement on June 25.

Amazon had approached the Karnataka High Court against a CCI order which had called for a Director General (DG) investigation into allegations of anti-competitive conduct in the online sale of smartphones on its platform.

The informant before the CCI, Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM), had levelled allegations of predatory pricing, deep discounting, preferential seller listing, and exclusive partnerships, among others, against Amazon and Flipkart. DVM is an organisation whose members comprise traders from many micro, small and medium enterprises, and rely on trade of smartphones and related accessories.

On June 11, Justice PS Dinesh Kumar dismissed the petitions filed by Amazon and Flipkart. Subsequently, appeal petitions were filed by them challenging that order. Amazon, Flipkart, CCI and DVM then made their submissions in the matter before the Division Bench.

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