The Delhi High Court on Friday adjourned hearing of 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 A S Chandhiok was unavailable.
His absence did not stop either party from continuing their tussle before the judge. On hearing Chandhiok's unavailability, counsel for Monsanto, Ajit Warrier, highlighted CCI's continuing alleged attempts at delaying proceedings and pressed for the matter to be heard nonetheless in order to avoid any coercive steps against the company.
The 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, even though no stay order was granted against the probe. After hearing the submissions, judge Sanjeev Sachdeva agreed with Jain that the investigation was to continue as usual, while also telling 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.
had in February ordered a detailed probe
into the activities of the genetically modified seed manufacturer after finding "prima facie evidence" of violations of competition laws.
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.
has challenged both the investigation and the inclusion of its officials in it in the Delhi high court.