The informant has also not submitted any material to show that insecticide importers and manufacturers are charging exorbitant prices either due to any anti-competitive agreement, the CCI said while rejecting the plea
New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed a plea against the Agriculture Ministry that alleged existing registration norms for importing insecticides create monopoly of existing players in that segment, reports PTI.
The CCI said the material submitted before it does not provide the basis for a prime facie opinion to refer the case to its Director General for investigation. Hence, the matter is closed, it said in an order.
No violations of Section 3 (related to anti-competitive agreements) and Section 4 (regarding abuse of market position) under Competition Act 2002 were found, it added.
The case was filed against the Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Agriculture Commissioner and Chairman of the Registration Committee and Secretary of Central Insecticide Board and Registration Committee.
The Commission said the informant -- Saurabh Bhargava from Madhya Pradesh -- was aggrieved by the rules with regard to registration of insecticides for importing into India.
According to the order, the informant said the conditions prescribed for grant of registration certificate were onerous and created monopoly in respect of the existing entrants.
Further, the informant said it was difficult for new entrants to get themselves registered. As a result, there was monopoly in the market and exorbitant prices were being charged by insecticide importers and manufacturers.
"The informant has also not submitted any material to show that insecticide importers and manufacturers are charging exorbitant prices either due to any anti-competitive agreement between them or any dominant player amongst them is abusing its dominance in the relevant market," the order said.
The Commission noted that the impugned conditions prescribed for grant of registration certificate cannot be termed either as anti-competitive agreement or as abuse of dominant position.
As per the order, the three entities cannot be termed either as enterprises or as being participants in the market under consideration.
"The question of violation of Sections 3 or 4 of the Act, therefore, does not arise.
"The opposite parties are primarily responsible for administration of The Insecticides Act, 1968 and rules framed thereunder, including the related technical and procedural responsibilities and, as such, their activities would normally not be covered under the Competition Act, 2002 unless there are strong grounds to suggest otherwise," it added.
In an dissenting order on the issue, Commission Member R Prasad said there exists a "prima facie case" that deserves to be investigated further.
"After carefully considering the entire material on record, I am of the view that there exists a prima facie case of anti-competitive effect due to the conduct of the opposite parties and there is a need on the part of the Commission to intervene to correct the situation for the welfare of the consumers," Prasad said in his dissenting order.
As per this order, the anti-competitive situation is arising due to the interpretation of the relevant section of the Insecticides Act and unless the parties' activities are set right, the market would not see benefits of competition.
"... I am of the opinion that there exists a prima facie case in the matter and deserve to be sent for investigation by the DG," the dissenting order noted.
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