The Madras High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Hyundai Motor India ltd, assailing the decision of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to investigate the company for alleged anti-competitive practices related to spare parts sale and after-sale service.
A division bench of justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and RMT Teekaa Raman recently dismissed the appeal filed by the company, challenging the February 4, 2015 order of a single-judge bench of the court.
The judge had held that a permission to expand the scope of inquiry into the allegations could not be construed as a suo motu (on its own motion) initiation of investigation by the Director General of the CCI.
The matter relates to a complaint lodged with the CCI in 2011 by one Shamsher Kataria of New Delhi, alleging anti-competitive practices by three car-makers in the country.
Following a direction, the additional director general of the CCI had in 2011 conducted a probe, which had revealed that similar practices were adopted by a few other car manufacturers, and sought the CCI's permission to expand the scope of inquiry into the matter.
When Hyundai's name was included in the list of car manufacturers which indulged in such practices, the company had challenged it in the high court, saying the additional director general, CCI did not have the powers to include other companies that were not mentioned in the complaint.
However, the contention was rejected by the single-judge bench.
Subsequently, the company had filed the writ appeal.
Upholding the order of the single-judge bench, the division bench said, "If the CCI had not issued a direction on April 26, 2011, the director-general could not have proceeded against all other manufacturers. The direction issued by the commission on April 26, 2011, would be tantamount to a direction."
"Therefore in our considered view, the question of overstepping of jurisdiction does not arise," it added.