NCLAT Upholds CCI’s Order Dismissing Complaints against Goel Enclave and Eight Residential Developers

On May 22, 2020, the NCLAT upheld CCI’s order dismissing complaints of contravention of the Competition Act against Goel Enclave and Eight Residential Developers (‘Opposite Parties’)[1].

The informants had booked two residential flats in the housing project named Silver Line Apartments which was developed by the Opposite Parties. At the time of booking, the Opposite Parties had allegedly assured the Informant that all necessary approvals had been obtained for the residential project and that the cost of each flat was to be inclusive of all charges. However, despite paying the entire cost of the flats, the Opposite Parties compelled the informant to pay additional amount on the pretext of parking and maintenance charges, without handing over possession of the flat. Additionally, the informants alleged that the Opposite Parties had used poor quality material and that certain areas earmarked for common facilities were utilised illegally for raising additional apartment blocks. Thus, the informant alleged that the Opposite Parties had violated Section 3 of the Competition Act (relating to anticompetitive agreements), and that Goel Enclave had abused its dominance.

CCI noted that the informant failed to disclose any agreement which could be considered as anticompetitive amongst the Opposite Parties. On allegations of abuse of dominance, CCI noted the presence of several entities competing with Goel Enclave and absent any dominance, dismissed the complaint. The NCLAT agreed with CCI’s findings, noting that in essence the complaint related to a breach of contractual obligations. Additionally, the NCLAT noted that owing to the presence of several competitors the Opposite Parties could not be said to be dominant, rendering all issues on abuse of dominance redundant. The NCLAT stated that while the informants could claim compensation for breach of contract before the appropriate forum, the competition concerns raised by the informants were unfounded. Accordingly, the NCLAT dismissed the appeal.

[1] Ujjawal Narain & Anr. V. Goel Enclave & Ors., Competition Appeal (AT) No. 18 of 2017, order delivered on 22 May 2020.

Published In:Inter Alia Special Edition - Competition Law - July 2020 [ English
Date: July 18, 2020