The Supreme Court, on Monday, asked the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Builders Association of India to respond to the plea of Ultratech Cement against an order of the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT), asking 10 cement firms to deposit 10 per cent of penalty of Rs.6,300 crore imposed on them for allegedly indulging in cartelisation.
COMPAT had asked 10 cement manufacturers, including Ultratech Cement, to deposit Rs.630 crore by June 16 otherwise their appeals filed against imposition of penalty of Rs.6,300 crore on them by the CCI for allegedly indulging in cartelisation, would be dismissed. “We are not passing any interim order without hearing the other side. Issue notice to respondents (CCI and BAI), making them (notices) returnable by day after tomorrow considering the exigency of the matter,” the bench headed by Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said.
The bench also directed that the petitions, filed by other cement manufacturers, against the decision of COMPAT be listed together on June 12.
Initiating arguments, senior advocate A. M. Singhvi, appearing for Ultratech Cement, said COMPAT took a “prima facie view in our favour but asked the company to deposit 10 per cent of the penalty or the appeal against order of CCI would fail.”
He said the submission of 10 per cent of the total penalty is not mandated under the statute. Mr. Singhvi also said an interim order could be passed by staying the submission of penalty and the matter can be fixed for hearing at a later date.
“No order can be passed without hearing the other side,” the court said.
It was hearing the plea of the cement firm against an interim order of COMPAT.
Earlier, various cement firms had moved the COMPAT against the order of CCI which had imposed penalty of Rs.6,300 crore on 10 firms, saying they had indulged in cartelisation by not utilising the available capacity with an aim to raising prices in times of higher demand.