COMPAT by its order dated March 9, 2016 has upheld the CCI order dated September 3, 2015 refusing to grant interim injunction against allegations of predatory pricing in an ongoing investigation against M/s ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Ola Cabs).

In a case filed by Fast Track, alleging predatory pricing in provision of radio taxi services in Bengaluru, the CCI had ordered detailed investigation through its order dated April 24, 2015.

However, by an order dated September 3, 2015, the CCI rejected Fast Track’s plea for interim injunction which sought directions from CCI to Fast Track to stop indulging in predatory pricing with immediate effect.

The CCI rejected the application for interim injunction observing that even though a prima-facie case can be said to have been made out in favour of the Fast Track Call Cabs, but the figures cited by the Fast Track were yet to be examined by the DG and neither the Fast Track is going to suffer irreparable loss nor the balance of convenience is in its favour.

The COMPAT has upheld the order of the CCI with the opinion that the discretion exercised by the CCI not to entertain any prayer for interim relief does not suffer from any patent legal infirmity to justify interference by COMPAT.

The COMPAT held that an order of injunction or prayer for interim relief in the nature of injunction can be granted only if the applicant satisfies that he has a strong prima-facie case; that he will suffer irreparable injury, if the injunction/ interim relief prayed for is not granted; that the balance of convenience is in the grant of injunction as against its refusal and that the grant of injunction would be in larger public interest.

The COMPAT noted that it was not yet conclusively established that Ola Cabs had violated Section 4 of the Act. The prayer for interim relief cannot be decided assuming that the allegations stand proved. Further, restricting discounts to public would not be in public interest, especially since that harm cause to the public would not be capable of compensated. The appeal has been dismissed.

(Source: CCI Order dated March 09, 2016.For full text see CCI website)