Home/ News / India/  Delhi HC dismisses Monsanto’s plea to quash CCI probe

NEW DELHI : The Delhi high court (HC) on Wednesday dismissed a petition by Monsanto Holdings Pvt. Ltd (MHPL), and others, challenging a probe initiated by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The pleas by MHPL, Monsanto Co. and Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Pvt. Ltd (MMBL) had challenged a CCI order of February 2016 directing the director general to investigate the activities of petitioners and Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. (Mahyco).

The CCI investigation’s was based on a complaint of alleged abuse of dominant position. The commission’s order had said that prima facie MMBL held a dominant position in the relevant market of “provision of Bt. cotton technology in India" as well as the downstream market of “manufacture and sale of Bt. cotton seeds in India".

It had prima facie added that the stringent conditions imposed in the sub-licence agreements discouraged the seed companies from dealing with competitors, which amounted to restricting development of alternative technologies. The controversy, essentially, relates to the trait fee charged by MMBL, among other terms and conditions, for using the technology for manufacturing Bt. cotton seeds.

The CCI action is an administrative order and unless it is found arbitrary, no interference is required, the order passed by Justice Vibhu Bakhru said, adding that a review on merits is not permissible at the current stage.

The petitioners argued that there was an implicit inconsistency between provisions of the Competition Act and the Patents Act and, therefore, the Competition Act is not applicable.

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Updated: 22 May 2020, 12:59 AM IST
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