Delhi high court dismisses CCIs appeal against ICAI
August, 13th 2014
The Delhi high court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) directing the CCI to make its case in front of a single judge bench of the high court where the matter is already pending.
The case arose when an “information” was filed with the CCI by chartered accountant Arun Anandagiri alleging that the ICAI had abused its dominant position in excluding other organisations and entities from conducting seminars and conferences under the continuing professional education (CPE) programmes.
The CCI had taken cognizance of the matter and directed the director general to investigate the information. The ICAI filed a writ petition before the Delhi high court in which justice Manmohan granted a stay on the investigation.
The CCI appealed this order before a division bench of chief justice G. Rohini and justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, arguing that the single judge could not have stayed the investigation as ordering an investigation is a purely administrative matter that depends upon the discretion of the CCI.
The bench questioned how the CCI could maintain such an appeal, when the “complainant” himself had not appealed against the stay. Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, appearing for the CCI, argued that the terminology used in the Competition Act is “informant”, as against “complainant”, whose role is limited to providing information about anti-competitive practices to the CCI, implying that once an information is received, the CCI takes charge of the matter. He asked the bench to allow the investigation to continue but the bench dismissed the appeal asking the CCI to approach the single judge and re-agitate the issue of grant of stay on investigation before him.