On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected Coal India Ltd.’s argument that the competition regulator has authority over it. The company’s argument that the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act governs it and therefore the Competition Act, 2002, does not apply to it was rejected by the Supreme Court.
Coal India contended during the proceedings that it is in a distinct position from other businesses since its main goal is to serve the public benefit. The state-owned coal miner had argued that Coal India should be handled differently than any other business that could possess a monopoly since it serves the interests of all citizens.
Following the Competition Commission of India’s 2013 finding that Coal India and its three subsidiaries—Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., Western Coalfields Ltd., and South Eastern Coal fields Ltd.—had abused their dominant position, the matter was brought before the Supreme Court.
The regulator found that the state-run business and its subsidiaries sold expensive, low-quality coal while maintaining the right to unilaterally terminate contracts with customers, failing to offer a fair process for resolving disputes, and favouring other state-owned businesses over private coal purchasers.
The Competition Appellate Tribunal remanded the matter for further examination after the competition authority had first levied a punishment of Rs 1733.05 crore. As a result, the amount was later lowered to Rs 591.01 crore.
Written By- Smrutiman Anantveer Mohanty, College Name- Army Law College, Pune, Semester- Smrutiman Anantveer Mohanty, an intern under Legal Vidhiya