The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down Competition Commission of India’s plea to vacate the stay order issued by the Karnataka High Court in the ongoing investigation against ecommerce firms Flipkart and Amazon.
A three-judge bench has asked the CCI to approach the Karnataka High Court instead. The apex court has given the high court six weeks to decide on the matter, failing which the petition can be revived with the Supreme Court.
The CCI had filed an appeal with the apex court in September to vacate the order to present subsequent facts on the investigation.
The competition watchdog had initiated an investigation against the Indian unit of the Jeff Bezos-led firm and Walmart-backed Flipkart in January for flouting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms and anti-competition practices, based on a complaint filed by traders body Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh (DVM).
Amazon had challenged the investigation in February in the Karnataka HC, following which the court granted a stay on the probe. The HC, at the time, stated that FDI violations came under the purview of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and thus, the court awaited the agency’s investigation reports on the ecommerce players.
Commenting on the development, Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a traders body said, “The order of the apex court has landed (us) into a unique situation where both CAIT and DVM have already filed an appeal in front of a two-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court, challenging the stay granted on February 14, 2020.”
However, the final decision on whether the investigation can proceed will be taken by a single-judge bench in Karnataka HC in six weeks.