Delhi HC stays CCI proceedings against IOCL, HPCL& BPCL
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the proceedings initiated by Competition Commission of India into the alleged anti-competitive practices of IOCL, HPCL and BPCL in relation to pricing of petrol by them on a plea by the oil companies.
Justice V K Jain stayed the suo motu proceedings by CCI till January 13 by when the fair trade regulator as well as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) have to file their responses on the plea of the oil companies which have contended that CCI does not have the jurisdiction to investigate the issue.
The PSUs in their plea have challenged the October 21, 2013 order of the CCI by which it had held that it had the jurisdiction to look into petrol pricing of the oil companies.
The CCI had been looking into suspected unfair trade practices by state-run oil companies while setting petrol prices.
The PSUs had challenged the CCI's probe saying the regulator had no jurisdiction to look into fixing of petrol prices as they are are regulated by the PNGRB.
During the day's proceedings, advocate Ajit Warrier, appearing for the oil companies, submitted that in another matter relating to regulator's jurisdiction on fixing of air turbine fuel prices, the high court had stayed the proceedings in the CCI and has listed the matter on January 13, so this matter can also be heard then.
CCI, on the other hand, argued that stay of its proceedings will lead to collapse of the entire machinery as others will also move the high court seeking such orders.
It also assured it will not pass any orders in the matter till further orders of the court.
The court, however, refused to consider its plea and said there shall be a stay of the proceedings.
CCI had suo motu initiated the proceedings against the oil companies as it was of the view that even after deregulation, petrol prices were revised almost in equal levels by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL).
Finding ambiguity in the petrol pricing mechanism, the CCI had sought information in this regard from the Petroleum Ministry.
The Ministry had told the regulator that it was not responsible for fixing petrol prices and that oil marketing companies set the rates directly using a formula.