The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has set aside the order of the Competition Commission of India which had found abuse of dominance reasoning that information downloaded from the net and similar other material as relied upon by the Commission do not have any evidentiary value. The Tribunal in this regard noted that information available in the public domain could not have been used by the Commission because no one had appeared in the witness box to prove the same. It was also held that in any case, the same was not reliable without giving an effective opportunity to the appellant to controvert the same.
The Tribunal on 23-2-2015, while setting aside the impugned order of the CCI, also held that if the Commission wanted to differ with the Director General on the issue of ‘relevant market’ then it should have given notice spelling out its intention to do so and should have provided an opportunity of hearing to the appellant to allow them to contest the proposed determination of the ‘relevant market’ by the Commission. It was noted that while holding an inquiry under Section 26(7) or Section 26(8) of the Competition Act, the Commission was required to comply with the rule of audi alteram partem and give an effective opportunity of hearing to the person against whom a finding was likely to be recorded on the issue of contravention of Section 3 or Section 4 not only to controvert the allegation made against him as also the evidence/material proposed to be used in support of such allegation but also to produce evidence to show that he had not violated any provision of the Competition Act.