Tribunal disposes of Arshiya Rail''s plea against CCI order
New Delhi, Apr 7 (PTI) The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has disposed of a plea by Arshiya Rail Infrastructure challenging fair trade regulator CCI''s dismissal of charges of abuse of dominance in freight services market by Indian Railways and its public sector undertaking CONCOR.
A three-member bench, headed by tribunal Chairman Justice V S Sirpurkar, in his order dated April 4, said: "... we do not find any merits in the appeal and we would choose to dismiss the same. The appeal is disposed of as non-tenable."
Last week, the tribunal had dismissed a similar appeal by Jindal Steel Power Ltd against CCI''s clean chit to exclusive supply agreement of Indian Railways (IR) with steel maker SAIL for supply of rails. The plea was dismissed on the similar ground as the fair trade regulator had passed the orders under non-appellable sections.
Arshiya Rail and KRIBHCO Infrastructure, two private container trains operators, had complained to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that the Indian Railway had abused its dominant position by prohibiting transportation of commodities such as ores, minerals, coal and coke by container train operators.
They had also contended that Railways had sought to ensure that such commodities are transported only by the Indian Railways own freight services, that is on conventional wagons and not by container trains operated by them.
CCI''s Director General of Investigation had found that conduct of the Ministry of Railway in the relevant market was in violation of rules and found it engaged in anti-competitive practice.
CCI, however, on august 14, 2012 gave a clean chit to Indian Railways and CONCOR and closed the case after concluding that they wer not abusing their market position in the freight services segment.
CCI said that Indian Railways and CONCOR were not dominant in the relevant market and there was no abuse of dominance.
In its order, the Commission said "in the relevant market, neither Indian Railways nor CONCOR is dominant. It is also legally not valid to treat Indian Railways and CONCOR as group entity".
CCI had, however, observed that allegations of frequent changes in haulage charges by the Indian Railways raise "some concerns on the larger issue of policy design for incentivising private participation".
The stage is set for a fresh round of argument on the highly publicised Lokpal bill in Parliament. The Samajwadi Party has made it clear that it would oppose the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
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