The Indian Railways Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court against the order of a single judge that held that Competition Commission of India (CCI) is empowered to hear complaints against it for alleged abuse of its dominant position in goods transport sector.
Hearing the plea of the Indian Railways that challenged the CCI jurisdiction to decide cases related to it, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the CCI.
In his order Feb 23, Justice Vipin Sanghi held that the Indian Railways is an enterprise as defined in the Competition Act and allowed the CCI to hear the complaint against it.
The railways had approached the court saying it was not an enterprise and the CCI lacked jurisdiction to hear a complaint against it.
Dismissing the plea by observing that there is a commercial angle to the services rendered by the railways, the court said: “The petitioner (railways) is also carrying out an activity of running the railways, which has a commercial angle and is capable of being carried out by entities other than the state, as is the case in various other developed countries.”
Justice Sanghi further said: “It is not an inalienable function of the state and the submission of the petitioner that it is not covered by the definition of enterprise has no merit and is rejected.”
The CCI allowed hearing on a private firm’s allegation that the public carrier had “abused its dominant position through its various acts/ conduct, viz, by increasing charges for various services; by not providing access to infrastructure such as rail terminals, etc….”.