Price fixing: HC stays CCI action against oil cos

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SummaryThe Delhi High Court on Friday restrained the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from continuing its probe against leading oil marketing firms over allegations of cartelisation in fixing petrol prices.

The Delhi High Court on Friday restrained the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from continuing its probe against leading oil marketing firms over allegations of cartelisation in fixing petrol prices.

Earlier this year, the CCI had initiated the probe to determine as to why the petrol prices of different oil marketing companies (OMCs) remained identical when petrol has been a deregulated commodity since mid-June 2010.

However, the OMCs have approached the court challenging the jurisdiction of CCI in this matter. The oil major believes that all the oil marketing companies can only be regulated by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).

“...Issue notice to CCI and PNGRB...counter-affidavit to be filed within four weeks...In the meanwhile, there shall be a stay on any further proceedings before the CCI,” the high court said, while hearing a petition filed by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) that had challenged CCI's jurisdiction in the probe.

The Delhi HC will next hear the matter on January 13. According to reports, the CCI is said to have told the OMCs that it has the necessary jurisdiction to investigate the matter in order to come to a decision if the firms had indulged in suspected unfair trade practices while setting petrol prices.

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