The Competition Commission of India (CCI) issued an order under Section 27 of the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”) on 22 August 2023 finding that Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is in contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2 )( a)(i) read with Article 4(1) of the Act.
The case was initiated on the basis of an information filed by Mr. Ramesh Kumar, the assignee of an apartment offered under a self financed housing scheme (“Plan”) launched by CHB in 2010.
It was alleged that CHB abused its dominant position under Section 4 of the Act by, inter alia, imposing unfair terms and conditions on the assignees, CHB’s failure to disclose the date of ownership of the apartments to the assignees in its brochure and/or Letter of Acceptance-Request (ACDL), and collection of penalty interest for the entire month even for one day delay.
Having delineated the relevant market as the “market for the provision of services for the construction and sale of residential apartments in the Union Territory of Chandigarh”, the Commission considered that CHB was in such a dominant position that it could operate independently of the competitive forces prevalent in the market the relevant market. The Commission also considered that the non-disclosure of the delivery date of possession of the apartments to the applicants and the collection of criminal interest for the whole month due to the one-day delay in crediting the installment constituted an abuse of a dominant position within the meaning section 4(2)( a)(i) of the Act.
Considering the fact that the corrective measures have already been taken by CHB, the ICC has refrained from imposing financial sanctions on CHB.
A copy of the order in Case No. 39 of 2021 is available on the ICC website at www.cci.gov.in