Online sellers challenge CCI's clean chit to Flipkart in market dominance case

Online sellers challenge CCI's clean chit to Flipkart in market dominance case
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
22 May, 2019

The All India Online Vendors Association, a group of online sellers across multiple e-commerce platforms, has challenged the Competition Commission of India’s November 2018 decision to give a clean chit to Flipkart over allegations that the online retailer abused its dominant position.

The association, in its appeal to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), alleged that some sellers including RetailNet, India Flash Mart, Omnitech Retail and Trunet Commerce sell only on the Flipkart platform and not on other competing e-commerce websites. This makes sellers dependent on Flipkart, the industry group said.

The NCLAT admitted the appeal and asked the CCI to file a reply within 10 days. It will hear the case on July 30.

The CCI, while rejecting the complaint against Flipkart, had said in its order that no online marketplace enjoys a clear dominant position in India.

Flipkart, which was acquired by US retail giant Walmart Inc. last year, was earlier also accused of violating India’s policy on foreign direct investment. In August 2018, however, the CCI had said that issues related Flipkart’s compliance with FDI norms were not under the purview of the antitrust watchdog.

Chanakya Basa, who is representing the 2,000 member AIOVA in the matter, said the acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart has no bearing on this case at all. “In fact, it strengthens our case given the market power Walmart enjoys globally and the increasing consolidation in e-commerce in India. The evidence submitted to the CCI is from 2017 and a corrective action has to be taken by the CCI if the NCLAT directs it to investigate the case,” Basa said.