Online sellers to take Flipkart to Supreme Court if appeal to NCLT fails

Online sellers to take Flipkart to Supreme Court if appeal to NCLT fails
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New Delhi, Jan 15: Online sellers’ body All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) will file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against Flipkart if their appeal in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLT) fails, the association’s lawyer Chanakya Basa told FE Online. AIOVA, representing over 3,500 online sellers, will be moving to NCLT against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) November 2018 ruling in favour of Flipkart and Amazon’s alleged use of dominant market position to favour a select number of sellers.
“Certain facts were not taken into consideration by the honourable CCI which we will now bring to the NCLT’s notice. If that doesn’t work we will file an SLP in the Supreme Court though that’s a long route to take,” he said.
The CCI had said Flipkart and Amazon did not break regulations in selecting merchants and brands.
AIOVA is however hopeful of NCLT referring back to the considerations made against the two e-commerce giants in India abusing their market position to favour a select number of sellers.
“We have a fair chance before the NCLT. CCI should have evaluated the facts we presented. It is a major error. The interpretation of the law is still questionable as there could be multiple interpretations of it,” he said.
“After we filed the case to CCI, last month Flipkart CEO in an interview to the Economic Times said that Flipkart is a dominant player in this market. I ask as a prima facie that if its CEO is admitting their dominant role then ideally the commission should take that on-record and start an investigation,” said Basa.
According to ratings agency CRISIL, nearly 35-40% of sales for online retailers worth Rs 35,000-40,000 crore, could be impacted due to the tightened e-commerce FDI policy.
The government had last month announced changes in the e-commerce policy that stops online marketplaces with foreign investments from selling goods of the vendors and brands in which they have stakes and curbs exclusive partnership with brands or offering favourable services to few vendors.
“If discounts were one of the reasons driving the online market then certainly the online sales will be affected,” said Basa.
AIOVA’s lawyer stated that in other geographies also the investigations against Amazon are underway to check this conflict of interest. “There are numerous papers, debates questioning the Amazon practice and complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about this issue.”