Friday, November 29, 2013

E-homes with pre-fitted gadgets akin to other residential units; their developer isn’t dominant player

E-homes with facilities like wifi, finger print security cannot be said to be different from other residential units


a) The informant, allottee of e-homes, filed information alleging abuse of dominance by Opposite Party (‘OP’) for adopting anti-competitive practices for the allotment of their e-homes;

b) He alleged that the e-homes developed by OP were likely to attract buyers who wanted to buy homes pre-fitted with hi-tech gadgets like wifi, finger print security system, parkings lots, etc;

c) He also contended that the OP created the special category of e-homes and had acquired a 100% dominant status for being the only real estate developer to design and develop such e-homes in Delhi/NCR;

d) As a result of the dominance enjoyed by OP, it started demanding high premiums and forced allottees to sign an Allotment Agreement.

The Competition Commission held as under:

1) The argument of informant that 'the provision for services of e-home' was a distinct product having separate market for itself, does not seem to be convincing because the facilities being provided by the OP like prefitted hi-tech gadgets, i.e., wifi, finger print security system, parking lots, etc., could easily be installed in any house without much structural modifications and alterations;

2) Thus, e-homes in question couldn’t be deemed as different products from other residential flats;

3) There has been no information in the public domain to prove that the OP was a dominant real estate developer in the relevant market and it had been abusing its position of dominance;

4) As per the information in public domain, there were several upcoming residential projects in Delhi/NCR and OP was not the only real estate developer in the relevant geographical market;

Therefore, the OP did not, prima facie, appear to be a dominant player in the relevant market. In the absence of dominance of OP in the relevant market, there was, prima facie, no reason for abuse of dominance in that market - Achyut P. Rao v. Designarch Infrastructure (P.) Ltd. [2013] 38 380 (CCI)

Revenue exempted from disclosing info obtained from Financial Intelligence Unit justifying search operations

Preparation of satisfaction note on information collected from Financial Intelligence Unit to be treated as unpublished document for which privilege under Evidence Act could be validly claimed.


a) The assessee was a leading importer and exporter of bullion, platinum bars and other precious metals;

The search and seizure operations under section 132 were carried out against assessee on basis of information received from Financial Intelligence Unit (‘FIU’) that heavy cash amounts were deposited in bank accounts of assessee and its sister concern on a regular basis;

c) The assessee filed writ challenging the search and seizure operations and claimed its right to examine satisfaction note to assail validity and bona fides of search and seizure operation;

d) On other hand, revenue filed an application claiming privilege of unpublished material in public interest under the Evidence Act

The High Court held in favour of revenue as under:

1) It couldn’t be denied that the FIU, reporting directly to the Finance Ministry, was responsible for receiving, processing, analyzing and disseminating information related to suspected financial transactions;

2) It was also responsible for coordinating with and strengthening the efforts of national and international agencies, investigation into it in pursuance of global efforts against money laundering, terrorist financing and related crimes;

) The preparation of the satisfaction note on such information could be treated as unpublished documents for which the revenue has validly claimed privilege under sections 123 and 124 of the Evidence Act;

4) A large amount of accounted black money is floating in the market which poses a serious threat to the national economy. The Government of India has adopted several methods to discouraging the parallel economy being run by unscrupulous persons;

5) The FIU is engaged in collecting such information against the money laundering, terrorist financing and related crimes. The sources and methods of the organization collecting and processing such sensitive information couldn’t be subjected to public scrutiny to jeopardize the interest of the organization and national interest.

Thus, the application filed by the Income-tax department was to be allowed - M.D. Overseas Ltd. v. Director General of Income-tax [2013] 38 433 (Allahabad)