June 21 2012
A number of cases filed before the Competition Commission have been decided thus far in 2012, of which three stand out.
First, BharatMatrimony.com, a matrimonial website, filed a complaint against Google, citing discriminatory trade practices related to Google's AdWords program. The informant alleged that Google had abused its dominant position by engaging in discriminatory and retaliatory practices relating to AdWords. The complainant further alleged that the keywords relating to its websites were being sold by Google to the complainant's rivals, such as Shaadi.com and Jeevansaathi.com. Details regarding the outcome of the commission's decision (ie, whether the matter has been referred to the director general for investigation) are not yet known.
Second, on January 11 2012 the commission ruled on a case brought by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs against a number of airlines. It held that the airlines did not indulge in anti-competitive practices by raising fares following a strike by Air India pilots in April and May 2011. The commission observed that, as in any peak season, the load factor on airlines had increased during the relevant period and that in line with this trend, the percentage of tickets sold in the higher price brackets by all airlines had also gone up. The commission also considered the Directorate General of Civil Aviation's submission that the increase in air fare was due to the peak traffic season coupled with a reduced capacity as a result of strike by Air India pilots. The ministry had referred this matter to the commission on May 6 2011.
Finally, in a matter referred by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the director general of the commission found competition law violations in the way in which the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) handed out media rights to World Sports Group and Multi Screen Media for its cash-rich India Premier League event. After conducting an eight-month investigation, the report by the director general concluded that BCCI had abused its dominant market position by allowing 'single bidding' of media and television rights for India Premier League matches.
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