Amazon and Flipkart’s plea to suspend an investigation by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been rejected by the Supreme Court.CCI examines the business practices of e-commerce giants.
The two firms have been accused of promoting and favouring a select few sellers, among other practices aimed towards quashing competition.
This has been detrimental to smaller businesses and brick-and-mortar retailers.
They are also accused of structuring their businesses in ways that allow them to circumvent India’s laws.
As part of the probe, CCI posed 32 “sensitive” questions to Flipkart, with one of them asking for a list of its top sellers, details regarding online discounts, and partnerships with smartphone makers.
Both companies have denied the accusations and have taken to legal means to defend themselves.
They fired back at the CCI, saying that it did not meet internal criteria for minimum evidence before initiating the probe.
The CCI has also not proven any agreement that violates existing laws.
Forced To Submit To Probe
A three-member bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana was undeterred by the counterattack and suggested that Amazon and Flipkart themselves volunteer for such investigations.
In a statement, the judge said they should give themselves up for scrutiny to maintain transparency.
He also rebuked them for not being cooperative with the investigation and had ordered them to “submit” and that an “inquiry has to be conducted.”
To that effect, the panel gave the companies 4 weeks to submit to the investigation.
Karnataka HC Also Rejects Pleas
The Karnataka High Court rejected both of them when they approached it to stop the CCI probe, which they said was “invasive”.
The court, in turn, said that if they both maintain their innocence, then they should not be “shy in facing an inquiry.”