SAM, Salve for #Uber in predatory pricing complaint, Supreme Court issues notice

Uber

Uber has approached the Supreme Court of India challenging the order of the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT), which had ordered an investigation into charges of predatory pricing by the taxi aggregator.

The matter was heard by a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and DY Chandrachud, which issued notice to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Meru and also granted status quo on the investigation by DG.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas is representing Uber and briefed Senior Advocate Harish Salve while Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for Meru.

The matter has its genesis in an information filed by Meru in 2015 alleging that Uber was indulging in anti-competitive trade practices by giving discounts thus leading to lower fares. Meru alleged that it was predatory pricing in a bid to oust competitors.

The CCI refused to interfere saying there was no prima facie case made out. Meru chose to file an appeal against the decision of CCI in COMPAT.

One important aspect which came up for COMPAT’s consideration was the scope of market and CCI had ruled that the relevant market was Delhi alone and not Delhi-NCR. 

COMPAT over ruled this aspect of CCI’s decision and had ordered an investigation by the DG. This order has been challenged by Uber.

When the matter came up for hearing today in Supreme Court, Salve assailed the order of COMPAT stating,

“COMPAT has said that there might be some wrong doing or there might not be, so let the DG investigate. They cannot do that. Either, they could have sent the matter back to CCI or they could have set aside the CCI order and held that there is a prima facie case. But they have done neither.”

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Meru, opposed Salve’s arguments stating that the COMPAT has clearly stated that a prima facie case is made out.

“In paras 14, 15 and 18 (of the order), COMPAT has given detailed reasons [for its order]. 

The Court proceeded to issue notice and also ordered a status quo with respect to the investigation by DG. The case will now be heard on February 17.