The Supreme Court on Friday asked eight cement manufacturing companies to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount imposed on them by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) allegedly for resorting to cartelisation for manipulating the cement prices.
The bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha asked eight cement manufacturers to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty amount as it extended the National Company Law Appallate Tribunal (NCLAT)’s interim order to that effect.
A brief order passed on Friday said: “Appeals admitted. The interim orders that have been passed by the Tribunal in these cases will continue in the meantime.”
The bench ordered this as it agreed to hear the appeals by the eight cement manufacturers challenging the NCLAT’s July 25, 2018 order upholding Rs 6,300-crore penalty imposed by the CCI on 11 cement manufacturing companies.
The CCI imposed a penalty of Rs 6,300 crore holding that they indulged in cartelisation in breach of sub-section 3(3)(a) and 3(3)(b) of the Competition Act 2002.
The Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002 forbids anti-competitive agreements.
Sub-sections 3(3)(a) and 3(3)(b) prohibit any agreement the commercial entities engaged in the same trade enter that directly or indirectly determines purchase or sale prices and limits or controls production, supply, markets, technical development, investment or provision of services.
The cement companies that moved the top court included the India Cement, the Ramco Cement, Nuvoco Vista Corporation, Ambuja Cement, ACC Ltd, Jaiprakash Associates, Century Textile and Industries, and Ultratrech Cement.
The CCI order imposing the penalty of Rs 6,300 crore was passed in 2012 and again in 2016.
After 2012 CCI order imposing penalty, the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) had remanded the matter to CCI for considering afresh on the grounds of flaws in the procedure followed by it.
It was contended that though then CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla was not hearing the arguments, he was party to the writing of the 2012 judgment.