In this Roundup, we highlight the main developments in Indian competition law in January 2020.
E-Commerce Marketplaces under Scrutiny
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has directed an investigation into allegations of anti-competitive agreements between e-commerce marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart, on the one hand, and sellers on these marketplaces, on the other. A Delhi based traders’ body alleged that Amazon and Flipkart offered deep discounts through select preferred sellers who also benefited from preferential listings and exclusive tieups (such as with OEMs to be the exclusive seller for newly released phones), resulting in competitors being excluded from the market. It was also alleged that Amazon and Flipkart were jointly dominant and were abusing their dominance. In a marked shift from previous dismissals of allegations against these marketplaces, the CCI noted prima facie that competition between the marketplaces did not reduce the potential effect on competition as they followed the same practices. It also noted, in light of linkages between these preferred sellers and the marketplaces coupled with the allegations above, that the effect on competitors also needed to be investigated. However, keeping with past practice, the CCI declined to address allegations of joint dominance as this concept was not recognized in the Competition Act
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