Consumer Issues
Less scope for action on hotels over mineral water rates: Government

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas said there is little scope for legal action against hotels and restaurants for overcharging of mineral water as the Delhi High Court has held that it does not violate any provisions of the law

New Delhi: The Union government said there is little scope for legal action against hotels and restaurants for overcharging of mineral water as the Delhi High Court has held that it does not violate any provisions of the law, reports PTI.

 

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas said, "Yes sir", the government is aware of such unfair practices.

 

However, the "scope for legal action against such practice is limited," because the Delhi High Court in a writ petition has held: "charging prices for mineral water in excess of maximum retail price (MRP) printed during the service of customers in hotels and restaurants does not violate any of the provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures Act", he said.

 

The Court further said that it does not constitute a sale or transfer of the commodity by the hotelier or restaurateur to its customers, he added.

 

To create awareness about consumer rights, Thomas mentioned that the government runs several media campaigns to make consumers aware about the MRP.

 

Mineral water in hotels are restaurants are normally charged more than double the MRP.

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Competition Commission rejects plea on insecticides import

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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ED issues fresh show cause notice to BCCI over IPL-2 contracts

PL-2 was held in South Africa after the venue was shifted from India. There have been allegations of ill-gotten money flowing into the T-20 tournament from foreign tax heavens

 
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a show cause notice to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for alleged foreign exchange violations in acceptance of deposits of Rs60 crore for award of contract for conducting the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), reports PTI.
 
ED sources said investigation has revealed that the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) contraventions were committed by BCCI in accepting deposits of Rs20 crore from Emerging Media Sporting Holdings Ltd, UK (bidding for IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals) and Rs40 crore from MSM Satellite (Singapore) Pvt Ltd (bidding for TV broadcast contract).
 
The notices have been issued to former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, BCCI president N Srinivasan, former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah and the HDFC Bank.
 
In addition to imposition of penalties, the show cause notice also proposes confiscation of these deposits of Rs60 crore. IPL-2 was held in South Africa after the venue was shifted from India.
 
There have been allegations of ill-gotten money flowing into the T-20 tournament from foreign tax heavens.
 
Earlier, Minister of State for Finance SS Palanimanickam had told the Lok Sabha last Wednesday that ED had issued 12 show cause notices to BCCI and its officials for contraventions of foreign exchange laws involving Rs1,423.20 crore.
 
He had said 11 show cause notices involving an amount of Rs1,317.20 crore in the year 2011, and one notice involving Rs106 crore in the 2012 had been issued by the anti-money laundering agency in this regard.
 

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