All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA), an association representing 3500 online sellers has said that it will appeal against the clean chit given to Flipkart by Competition Commission of India's (CCI). In November 2018, CCI ruled out AIOVA’s complaint that Flipkart was abusing its dominant position in the market to favor certain sellers.
“…Looking at the present market construct and structure of online marketplace platforms market in India, it does not appear that any one player in the market is commanding any dominant position at this stage of evolution of market,” CCI’s order in November stated.
AIOVA will now approach the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLAT) to appeal against CCI’s decision.
It said in a statement that CCI’s ruling was unjust and that the regulatory body misinterpreted facts.
“CCI was unjust in ruling out dominance prima facie, even after submitting ample evidence to prove otherwise. The CCI also misinterpreted facts, omitted sensitive facts submitted by us and was unjust in ruling out dominance in this sector,” the association told TNM.
The seller body also questioned CCI’s reasoning of not wanting to interfere in a market since it is in a nascent stage.
“We believe the order of CCI was bad in law and suffered from non-application of mind and we seek relief from NCLAT to direct the CCI to order and investigation into our allegations,” it further added.
In the past too, AIOVA, along with other seller associations such as Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), strongly opposed the Walmart-Flipkart deal, fearing that Walmart might bring in its own private labels via Flipkart to India at highly competitive prices, which may cannibalise the market and make it difficult for domestic sellers to operate.
CAIT, at the time, moved CCI to file its objections to the deal and even wrote to Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu seeking to know what steps the Government has taken to scrutinise the deal and check if it is violating any law or FDI policy of the government.