The Competition Commission has rejected a complaint alleging abuse of dominant position by Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) with regard to sale of non-coking coal. The complaint against SCCL, jointly owned by the Centre and Telangana government, was filed by Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL). KPCL, owned by Karnataka government, purchased coal from SCCL under the distribution system of ‘linkage’ till introduction of the National Coal Distribution Policy in 2007, after which the two entered into Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs) in 2009 and 2015. It was alleged that various clauses of the FSAs pertaining to grade slippage, sampling procedure, deemed delivery, fixed non-negotiable price of coal, etc were abusive of SCCL’s dominant position. To assess the complaint, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) considered the market for “production and sale of non-coking coal to thermal power generators in India” as the relevant one. After finding that “SCCL is not dominant” in the relevant market, CCI said that no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act is made out against SCCL. Section 4 relates to abuse of dominant market position.
In an order dated June 12, CCI noted that Coal India through its subsidiaries operates independently of market forces and enjoys dominance in the relevant market whereas SCCL produces just a “meagre” amount of non-coking coal in the relevant market. The regulator also observed that as the alleged dispute between the firms appears to be a “commercial” dispute involving no competition concern, the remedies of KPCL would lie elsewhere.