The fact that no one, even executives in the e-commerce industry, is above the law has been reiterated once again as calls from Amazon and Flipkart to stop investigating them were dismissed by the Supreme Court on Monday. The country’s supreme court has refused to stop the Indian Competition Commission (ICC) investigation against Flipkart and Amazon for alleged violation of the country’s laws.
As part of the survey, Flipkart was asked to provide details such as a list of its top sellers, details of online discounts, and deals with smartphone makers.
In June, the ICC (the country’s antitrust agency) was given the green light to resume investigation against the two e-commerce powers over allegations of violations of the country’s competition law provisions (mainly by abusing their dominant status in the market to stifle competition) and grant preferential treatment to certain sellers. Flipkart and Amazon both opposed and contested the investigation, denying any wrongdoing on their part and arguing that the ICC failed to comply with internal minimum evidence criteria before ordering its investigation and that ‘it had not identified any agreements violating existing laws.
However, a three-member bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana and made up of Justices Vineet Saan and Surya Kant felt differently, and they said Amazon and Flipkart should volunteer for such inquiries.
“We’re expecting organizations like Amazon and Flipkart… large organizations… they need to volunteer for investigation and transparency. We expect… and you don’t even want (a) investigation, ”the chief justice said, adding,“ You have to submit an investigation needs to be conducted. The two companies have four weeks to join the investigations against them.
The two companies had taken to the Supreme Court after the Karnataka HC dismissed their pleas, seeking redress from the ICC investigation. “The investigation cannot be crushed at this point. If the appellants are not involved in violations of any provision of the competition law, they should not hesitate to face an investigation by the Competition Commission of India, ”Karnataka HC observed at the time. .
The investigation, in turn, came after numerous allegations against the two companies. Flipkart in particular has been accused by physical sellers of favoring certain sellers on its platforms. Something similar was reported by the ICC last year. “These platforms (Flipkart and Amazon) are able to influence the prices charged by sellers by offering multiple discounts as well as inventory to sellers,” he said. E-commerce giants have also been accused of using anti-competitive practices such as predatory pricing, deep discounts, exclusive partnerships and preferential listings.