Harshit Vijayvergia and Suryansh Goyal (collectively ‘Informants’) filed an Information under Section 19(1)(a) of the Act, against Indian Railways alleging that Indian Railways had abused its dominant position under Section 4 of the Act by increasing ticket prices and limiting its operations, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Information, Indian Railways is an enterprise under Section 2(h) of the Act and is in a dominant position, given that it has 100% market share in its market. The Informant further alleged that Indian Railways increased its fares under the garb of facing losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and such prices was discriminatory and was accordingly in contravention of Section 4(2)(a) of the Act. Further, the excess prices charged and the decision to operate limited trains during the COVID-19 pandemic was allegedly in violation of Section 4(2)(b) of the Act. Apart from this, the Informant alleged that despite charging high prices, there was no sanitization of toilets and no social distancing practices were enforced in the train operated by Indian Railways. The Informant also alleged that Indian Railways had contravened Section 4(2)(c) of the Act as IRCTC is the only website to book railways tickets and this monopoly position was used by Indian Railways to promote apps like catering, tourism and flight services.
On the issue of dominance, CCI placed reliance on its previous decisions and observed that Indian Railways is in a dominant position in the market of transportation of passengers through Railways across India, including ancillary segments like ticketing, catering on board, platform facilities etc. provided by Indian Railways. On the issue of abuse, CCI noted that the increase in fares by Indian Railways was to discourage people undertaking unnecessary travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also clarified in a press release issued by Indian Railways which was submitted to CCI by Indian Railways. CCI further noted that the other allegations concerning excessive and discriminatory pricing levelled by the Informants were not backed by any cogent evidence. Therefore, for these reasons, CCI decided to dismiss the matter under Section 26(2) of the Act.
 Harshit Vijayvergia and Ors, v. Indian Railways, Case No. 04 of 2021, Order dated October 6, 2021.