Mute game play by Associations in self interestDefault, Featured — By admin on February 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm
writes our legal correspondent from Delhi
In a recent development, the industry sources released copy of an Order passed by the Competition Commission of India on 31st Oct 2011 against a case filed by Travel Agents Association of India on 14.12.2009. The case was filed under Section 19 of the Competition Act, 2002 against Lufthansa, Air Canada, Australian Airlines, Continental Airlines, Air France, Northwest Airlines, KLM , Swiss Airlines and Singapore Airlines against denial of commission. It is alleged that airlines formed a cartel and are abusing their dominant position and airlines are blamed for not informing the end customers about the break-up of the fares.
Apparently, TAAI alleged that Airlines are deliberately and intentionally not enforcing the ‘transaction fee system’, a model introduced by them in lieu of prevailing commission system, as a result of which, the members of the Informant association are deprived of their dues. It is learnt that the information furnished by the informant (TAAI) was considered by the commission in its meeting held on 12.05.2010, and having formed an opinion under Section 26(1) of the Act that there exists a prima facie case, referred the matter to the Director General (DG) for conducting investigation.. It is noticed that DG in his report dated 27.01.2011 found that there is no violation of any provisions of Section 3 of the Act in this matter and the Commission has sent copy of investigation report to all concerned for filing their reply / objections .
TAFI requested for their being heard before any decision is taken in the case of information filed by TAAI. The Commission in its meeting held on 18.05 .2011 decided not to accede to the request from TAFI at such a belated stage.
and intervention in the commercial agreements between the two private parties is beyond its jurisdiction. Thus, according to Lufthansa, it is abundantly clear that the payment of commission is entirely a commercial arrangement between the relevant airlines and its agents, there is no express provision in the Aircraft Rules making it mandatory for the airlines to pay commission to agents and the airlines cannot be asked to pay commission on the ground that the commission figures in the definition of “tariff’. Subsequently, TAAI filed a letter on 26th September 2011 stating that the additional submissions have been filed by Lufthansa on 17th August 2011, without opportunity being given to them by the Commission to do the same, they must not be taken on record. It is learnt that TAAI has preferred an appeal before the Hon. Competition Appellate tribunal. Consequently , the Commission on 4th October .2011 ( delivered on 11th Oct) gave two weeks time to TAAI to submit i t s r e s p o n s e o n L u f t h a n s a ‘ s submissions ( dated 17th August 2011 ) indicating that in case of non receipt of reply within the given time, the Commission will decide the case on the basis of materials available on record. It is noticed that since there was no response, the Commission has presumed that the informant (TAAI) has nothing further to submit and the case was decided on the basis of available materials on record and passed Order on 31st October 2011 treating the matter as closed. Now it is learnt that IAAI also approached Hon. Competition Appellate tribunal for getting impleaded in this case.