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BW Businessworld

Curtains Down On MRTPC

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The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has been asked by the corporate affairs ministry to wind up operations by 31 August 2011. Set up in 1970 with the mandate to check the monopolistic and restrictive policies of companies, MRTPC has been less than effective. Fresh cases will go the Competition Commission of India (CCI). According to MRTPC officials, segregation of the cases has already begun. MRTPC has more than 2,200 pending cases.  The change may be for the better, as CCI has more powers. "We used to seek only compensation, but now in CCI we can also push for penal charges against the companies," says Sidharth Sharma, a New Delhi-based lawyer.

Click To View Enlarged imageMRTPC has been functioning without a chairman since the last chairman, O.P. Dwivedi, retired in March. There are only two working members. Records suggest that MRTPC never had the full strength of five members. A quick analysis of its performance over the past four decades reveals that it has miserably failed.  "Delayed justice is as good as justice denied," says Neeraj Malhotra, a New Delhi-based advocate. 

FROM THE FILES

CASE:
Association of Motion Picture & TV Producers Vs Film Makers Combine and Film Distributor Counsel 
PENDING FROM: 1995

The Association of Motion Pictures & TV Producers alleged that the agreement clause with actors, limiting them to do only 12 movies a year, was restrictive. The Film Makers Combine's producers did not want distributors to release the films of actors violating the cap.
STATUS: Final argument stage

CASE: Anupriya Seth Vs Pushpa Builders
PENDING FROM: 1996

Anupriya Seth bought a property from Lucknow-based Pushpa Builders. Seth alleged that the promises made by the builder while booking her order were not fulfilled. According to the officials of MRTPC, the builder is not representing the case now. Industrial Finance Corporation of India and Tourism Corporation of India have taken over the assets of Pushpa Builders.
STATUS: Final argument stage

CASE: Ashwani Khmeka Vs General Motors
PENDING FROM: 1999

In 1997, Ashwani Khmeka bought an Opel car, manufactured by General Motors. After nearly two years, Khmeka found several glitches in the car and moved MRTPC for compensation. The complaint was that the car had a faulty engine and some engine parts were malfunctioning. Also, the car was giving lower mileage than promised in the manual.
STATUS: Evidence stage


CASE: Pinki Sachdeva Vs Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation
PENDING FROM: 2002

In August 2002, HSIDC issued a notice for payment of EDC (external development charges) at the rate of Rs 402 per sq metre, for the various plots in Gurgaon, about 150 of 1,600 affected industrialists moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the MRTPC against the HSIDC move calling it illegal.
STATUS: Final argument stage

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 21-09-2009)