Business Standard

CCI rejects complaint against AAI, PGCIL


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Competition Commission has dismissed the allegations of abuse of dominant position against Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) while availing laboratory services for testing of construction materials.

The complaint was filed by one Madhya Pradesh-based Prem Prakash, who runs an engineering testing laboratory accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Conformity Assessment Bodies.

It was alleged that by imposing the condition requiring testing of construction materials through labs accredited to National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories, among others, AAI and PGCIL had put the laboratory of the complainant and other accreditation bodies out of competition.

For the case, CCI considered the market for laboratory services for testing construction materials in India as the relevant one.

In an order dated February 27, CCI said that AAI is a consumer of laboratory services and testing services availed by it do not constitute a significant part of the potential market in the country, as there are many other customers availing these services.

"As a buyer, AAI does not appear to enjoy dominant position and has every right to choose from amongst the various available options to meet its requirement," CCI said adding that no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act is made out against the public sector enterprise.

Section 4 pertains to abuse of dominant market position.

Referring to one of its earlier orders as well as that of erstwhile Competition Appellate Tribunal, CCI said PGCIL does not operate in the same market as the complainant does and is instead, a consumer of laboratory services.

"Every consumer/ procurer must have the freedom to exercise its choice freely in procurement of goods and services and such a choice is sacrosanct in a market economy as the consumers are best placed to evaluate what meets their requirements and has a competitive advantage.

"Further, while exercising the choice, they are free to stipulate standards for procurement and the same cannot be held to be anti-competitive," CCI said.

Noting that present allegations against PGCIL are substantially similar to those levelled earlier by the same complainant, CCI said that it sees no merit in re-examining the same issue, particularly when nothing new has been brought out against PGCIL.

CCI disposed of the matter after taking a view that "no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the (Competition) Act" is made out against AAI and PGCIL.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 5:55 PM IST

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