Allegations of abuse of dominant market position against Coal India Ltd., dismissed

Competition Commission of India (CCI): While observing that though Coal India Ltd. was dominant in the market of “provision of services relating to collection, preparation and transportation of coal samples in India,” no entry barrier were created through the conditions of depositing of Rs 1 crore earnest money and annual business turnover of Rs 20 crore for last three years, in the tender by Coal India Ltd., CCI dismissed the allegations of abuse of dominant position by the Company. Before the Commission, it was alleged by the informant that Coal India Ltd. and Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR) imposed unfair conditions in the tender notice for hiring technical service providers for collection, preparation and transportation of coal samples from the loading and unloading points to CIMFR or to its research centres, floated by CIMFR. After hearing the parties and perusal of material on record, Commission rejected the contentions of the informants and observed that “the plea of the Informant challenging the pre-qualification conditions that the bidder must have minimum business turnover of 20 crore per annum for last 3 years as it seeks to debar Indian firms, is misconceived as there are 26 third party samplers enlisted by CEA in concurrence with CIL.” While also rejecting the allegation against Coal India Ltd. for deposit of Rs 1 crore earnest money, CCI noted that by no stretch of submission, such requirement can be deemed to be abusive. “No case is made out against the Opposite Parties for contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Act,” CCI noted and closed the matter. [Kailash Chander Sharma v. Coal India Ltd., Case No. 40 of 2016, decided on July14. 2016]

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