The Competition Commission has dismissed a complaint alleging abuse of dominant position against Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation and two senior state officials with regard to bidding conditions in certain tenders.
The complaint was rejected after finding no prima-facie evidence of violation of competition norms, according to an order.
It was alleged that Social Welfare Department's Principal Secretary and Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) had changed the pre-qualification criteria in the tenders floated for procurement of eggs, Canadian yellow lentil and palmolein oil, thereby restricting many entities from participating in the tendering process.
In its order, dated August 6, the regulator said it did not find any prima facie evidence of contravention of Section 4 of the Competition Act.
Section 4 pertains to abuse of dominant market position.
"In the present case, the prerogative of deciding the criteria for qualification of bidders is vested in TNCSC... TNCSC, in this regard appears to have acted to ensure that the supplier participating in the tender has the capacity and resources to successfully execute the work for an uninterrupted supply of essential commodities," the order said.
"Further, the conditions in the tender requiring the bidders to comply with statutory compliances cannot be said to be anti-competitive merely because it could eliminate certain bidders from participating in the tenders," the CCI said.
As per the order, Social Welfare Department's Principal Secretary is procuring as a customer only for the welfare of the weaker section of the society.
The Competition Commission said that it is in public interest that certain pre-conditions or qualifications of the tenderers have to be laid down to ensure that the contractor has the capacity and the resources to successfully execute the work and for ensuring supply of huge quantity of quality eggs on time without any hiccups.
"In this regard, the Commission is of the view that the allegation raised by the Informant in relation to the procedure followed by the state government for the said procurement does not prima facie appear to raise any competition concern," the CCI said.
With regard to Food and Consumer Protection Department's Principal Secretary, the CCI said the person does not float tenders but it is TNCSC which floats tenders for procurement of Canadian yellow lentil and palmolein oil.
As per the order, the complainant has also not revealed the relationship between Food and Consumer Protection Department's Principal Secretary and TNCSC.
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