The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned Monsanto's challenge to proceedings initiated against the company and its officials by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) earlier this year, as government co-counsel senior advocate, A S Chandhiok, was unavailable to present his arguments.
His absence though, did not stop either party from continuing their on-going tussle before the single judge. On hearing Chandhiok's unavailability, counsel for Monsanto, Ajit Warrier, highlighted CCI's continuing attempts at delaying proceedings and pressed for the matter to be heard nonetheless in order to avoid any coercive steps being taken against the company.
Co-counsel for the government, additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain responded to this by informing the court of Monsanto's non-cooperative attitude and failure to respond to notices on the ground that the matter was sub-judice before the court, even though no stay order was granted against the probe.
After hearing the submissions, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva agreed with Jain that the investigation was to continue as usual, while also consoling the Monsanto counsel that any coercive action could be undone if necessary, at a later stage. The court then adjourned the matter till December 7.
After the commencement of the initial probe, the regulator clubbed three additional complaints against Monsanto later in June. The CCI has also included Monsanto officials into the ambit of the probe, which the company contends is beyond the scope of the regulator's powers at this stage. Monsanto has challenged both the investigation and the inclusion of its officials by the CCI in the Delhi High Court.