CAIT to observe June 14-21 as ‘e-commerce purification week’ across the country
A day after the Karnataka High Court dismissed the plea by Amazon and Flipkart on the investigation ordered by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against them for charging violation of provisions of competition laws, traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Saturday urged Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to direct CCI to immediately initiate the proceedings.
In a detailed communication to the Minister, CAIT also asked for immediate issuance of a fresh press note of the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) policy for the e-commerce sector with a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the law of the land prevails and no one violates it. Every company indulging in any e-commerce activity through any type of electronic mode has to take a registration number from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal and President B C Bhartia said traders across the country will observe June 14-21 as ‘E-Commerce Purification Week’.
CAIT leaders said that the misunderstanding of the e-commerce Companies that India’s laws are weak and can be manipulated either way as per the convenience must be washed away with immediate credible actions.
Bhartia and Khandelwal regretted that these e-commerce companies have left no stone unturned in turning a deaf ear to the repeated statements made by Minister Piyush Goyal several times and have indulged in unethical & illegal activities by flouting the mandatory provisions of the FDI Policy in both letter & spirit. This fact has been corroborated by Delhi High Court in January 2021 in the matter of Amazon v/s Future Retail that Amazon is indulging in mal-practices and yesterday when Karnataka High Court stated in its order that “It is expected that an order directing investigation be supported by ‘some reasoning’, which the commission has fulfilled”. This observation of the Court has substantiated the fact that everything is not well and therefore, the investigation should continue. Both the trade leaders complimented CCI for arguing the case well and stood firmly with its observations and actions.
CAIT leaders said that the misunderstanding of the e-commerce companies that India’s laws are weak and can be manipulated either way as per the convenience must be washed away with immediate credible actions. They said that traders across the country have been taken for a ride by these companies and slowly & gradually are losing confidence in the administrative system and to regain such confidence, strict steps are needed to ensure that whosoever, small or big, should not even think of violating the law or the policy. In spite of these daylight blatant violations, so far the officials and the departments concerned have not taken any significant step to curb the mal-practices of these e-commerce companies. It is requested that stern directions may be issued to the concerned officials to take immediate steps to maintain an even level playing field as elaborated by you a number of times said the trade leaders.
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Bhartia and Khandelwal said that the game of capital dumping by these so-called marketplaces has crimped the entrepreneurial skills and human capital of the country which is a cognizable offence. Making the human capital of any country sit idle, displacing them from their businesses and encroaching upon their livelihood by these capital behemoths is certainly never the “Bharat” which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dreamed of. This policy is killing the “Atmnirbhar Bharat” spirit of the people of India. They said that these companies are trying to establish themselves as the second edition of East India Company to fulfil their aspirations and ulterior motives to control & dominate not only the e-commerce but the entire landscape of the retail trade of India which is being run by more than 8 crore traders providing employment to nearly 40 crore people and generating an annual turnover of about Rs.115 lakh crores of rupees.
“Let there be a thorough probe by the CCI and these companies should emerge victorious amidst various complaints made against them from time to time. The CCI investigation into their business model is in fact a credible opportunity for them to become a role model for the trade and industry of India, as claimed by them that they are the real engine of growth of small businesses and also to establish that they are the saviours. All attempts to stall the investigation proceedings by Amazon & Flipkart certainly reinforce the allegations that these companies are indulged in law violating business model to the thick and thin,” they said.
The CAIT leaders said that traders across the country are in pain and anguish at a recent remark made by Amit Agarwal, Country Head, Amazon India, where he said that for India to be a global destination for investments, it must assert the validity of contracts and legal agreements. We have never come across a more paradoxical statement by an industry head because if there is one business group that needs to regard and follow the law of the land, it is Amazon India. It will be better for Mr Agarwal not to make a mockery of the Indian legal system that Amazon is resorting to in addition to the wide-scale and ever-subsisting violations of the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act)/ FDI Policy, lockdown guidelines and other laws and better put absolute focus in complying with the policy and the law spelt out in FDI policy of the Government.
 [BREAKING] Karnataka High Court dismisses petitions by Amazon, Flipkart against CCI probe on competition law violations – Jun 11, 2021, Bar and Bench
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