A Karnataka High Court division bench on Friday dismissed writ appeals by e-commerce players Amazon and Flipkart in which they had challenged a June 11 order by a single-judge bench that had allowed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to probe the companies over alleged anti-competitive practices.
"Amazon and Flipkart's appeals are devoid of merit and substance and deserve to be dismissed," the two-judge division bench comprising Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy said on Friday.
"The applicants should not feel shy in facing inquiry by CCI if they are not in violation of the Competition Act," the bench added.
Amazon and Flipkart had filed a writ appeal against the Karnataka High Court's order that had dismissed the petitions by the e-commerce majors seeking to quash a probe by the Competition Commission of India against them over alleged anti-competitive practices.
Karnataka High Court on June 11 dismissed the petitions by the eCommerce players, over a year-and-a-half after giving the companies an interim stay on the CCI probe.
The competition watchdog had, on January 13, 2020, ordered a probe against Amazon, Flipkart on alleged anti-competitive practices on a case filed by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh under Section 3 of Competition At.
Section 3 of the Act deals with anti-competitive agreements, and the Delhi-based association had alleged that both Amazon and Flipkart were indulging in exclusive arrangements with smartphone makers, preferential treatment to some sellers, and deep discounting.
The CCI had said there was a prima facie case and had asked the director general to investigate both the companies. The Karnataka High Court had in February last year granted an interim stay on the CCI order after both companies approached it.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) had defended its move to order a probe against Amazon and Flipkart over anti-trust behaviour, which includes allegations of exclusive agreements with smartphone makers, stating that such agreements are often ‘tacit’.