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CCI directs probe into alleged abuse of dominant position by Chandigarh Housing Board

Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had floated a scheme in December 2010 offering 160 flats on freehold basis in Sector 51-A, Chandigarh.

(Representative image: Shutterstock)

(Representative image: Shutterstock)

Fair trade regulator CCI on Thursday directed an investigation into alleged abuse of dominant position by the Chandigarh Housing Board in a matter pertaining to a self-financing housing scheme. Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had floated a scheme in December 2010 offering 160 flats on freehold basis in Sector 51-A, Chandigarh, as per the informant.

He said CHB has abused its dominant position by way of imposing unfair terms and clauses on the allottees. Among others, it said CHB did not disclose the date of possession in any of the relevant documents, purportedly to avoid liability in case of any delay.

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As per the regulator, CHB not disclosing the date of handing over of possession to allotees and at the same time subjecting them to terms which are "prima facie" unfair merits an investigation. CHB appears to have relieved itself by not making time as an essence for fulfilling its obligations towards the allottee, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said.

CCI also noted that CHB charged an interest commensurate to a period of one month for the delay of one day. "The Commission is of the prima facie view that this aspect merits an investigation and DG may look into this aspect, as to whether the same is violative of the provisions of the Act," it added.

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Act refers to the Competition Act, 2002. "The Commission is of the prima facie view that Opposite Party/CHB appears to have acted in derogation of the provisions of Section 4(1) read with Section 4(2) of the Act," CCI said.

Section 4 of the Act relates to the abuse of dominant position. Consequently, the Commission has directed its investigation arm — the director general (DG) — to carry out an investigation into the matter and submit the report within 60 days.

It added that nothing in this order shall tantamount to a final expression of opinion on the merits of the case and the DG shall conduct the investigation without being swayed by the observations made in the order.
PTI
first published: Jan 13, 2022 09:06 pm

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