NCLAT concludes hearing, reserves order in the decade-old tyre cartel case
The CCI had imposed a cumulative penalty of Rs.1,788 crores on Apollo Tyres, MRF, Ceat, JK Tyre, Birla Tyres and their associations
A division bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has concluded its marathon hearing in the tyre cartel case and has reserved its order in the decade-old matter.
The Coram of Justice Rakesh Kumar (judicial member) and Ashok Kumar Mishra (technical member) was hearing a batch of appeals from five prestigious tyre companies and the Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA).
The prolonged legal battle was earlier fought before the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court. The matter later came up before the NCLAT. The companies are Apollo Tyres, MRF, Ceat, JK Tyre, and Birla Tyres.
Early this year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposed a cumulative penalty of Rs.1,788 crores on the five tyre companies and ATMA – all of whom appealed against the order.
The matter arose out of a representation made in 2013 by the All-India Tyre Dealers Federation (AITDF) to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, which forwarded it to the CCI.
AITDF alleged that the tyre companies, accounting for 90 per cent of tyre industry production, were engaging in 'price parallelism' in the profitable replacement market.
In 2018, the anti-monopoly watchdog passed a final order against these companies and their association.
The CCI noted that the manufacturers exchanged price-sensitive data amongst themselves through the platform of their association and took collective decisions on tyre prices. CCI held the manufacturers and ATMA guilty of contravention of the provisions under the Competition Act, The Act prohibited anti-competitive agreements, including cartels, during 2011-2012.
The order of the CCI was appealed by MRF before the Madras High Court, which dismissed the appeal early this year. Thereafter, the SLP filed before the Supreme Court was also dismissed.
This followed the cumulative penalty imposed on the tyre companies and ATMA by CCI.