Uber vs Meru: SC restrains CCI from initiating probe on predatory pricing

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday restrained Competition Commission of India (CCI) from initiating a probe against Uber India over complaints of predatory pricing.

“Maintain status quo till further orders,” the Supreme Court told the antitrust regulator.

A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing an appeal brought by Uber against a Compat (Competition Appellate Tribunal) order of 7 December that found reason to probe Uber.

Taxi operator Meru Travel Solutions Pvt. Ltd had moved a complaint with CCI that Uber was engaging in unfair trade practices, including anti-competitive methods such as predatory pricing.

The apex court on Friday issued notice to Meru and sought its response.

“Uber has resorted to many abusive practices with sole intent to establish its monopoly and eliminate otherwise equally efficient competitors from the market by way of discounts and incentives,” Meru had said in its complaint.

CCI in February 2016 had dismissed Meru’s complaint, and on appeal, Compat asked the director general of CCI to initiate a fresh probe.

“The size of discounts and incentives shows there are either phenomenal efficiency improvements which are replacing existing business models with the new business models or there could be an anti-competitive stance to it,” Compat had said.

“In our view, there is a good enough reason for the director general to investigate this matter. It will also help in settling an issue which has agitated business discourse for quite some time,” the tribunal added.

The case will be heard next on 17 February.

Emails sent to Uber India and Meru cabs, seeking their opinion in the matter, remained unanswered at the time of publishing this article.

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