In a 12 June 2018 order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) launched an investigation under Section 26(1) of the Competition Act against Oil and Natural Gas Limited (ONGC) for abuse of its dominant position in the relevant market (ie, charter hire of offshore support vehicles in the Indian exclusive economic zone).

The investigation stemmed from allegations made by the informant, the Indian National Shipowners' Association, that ONGC had imposed one-sided and onerous terms in its charter hire agreements with suppliers of offshore support vehicles.

The CCI observed that one-sided clauses which grant an unfettered right to a dominant party without providing any reciprocal right to the other party to the agreement are prima facie abusive. Clause 14.2 of ONGC's special contract conditions gave it an exclusive right to terminate the agreement. Thus, the CCI found this to be a prima facie abuse of a dominant position in contravention of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the act.

For further information on this topic please contact MM Sharma at Vaish Associates by telephone (+91 11 4249 2525) or email (mmsharma@vaishlaw.com). The Vaish Associates website can be accessed at www.vaishlaw.com.

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