CCI to pass order on issue of its jurisdiction on oil pricing

CCI to pass order on issue of its jurisdiction on oil pricing

Press Trust of India, November 18, 2013

Competition Commission of India (CCI) will this month pass an order on the issue of its authority to probe alleged cartelisation on fixing of petrol prices, as questioned by oil marketing firms.

The Competition Commission of India chairman Ashok Chawla on Monday told PTI that the order on challenging the regulator’s jurisdiction in fixing petrol prices “will be passed within this month”.

The Competition Commission of India is currently looking into suspected unfair trade practices by state-run oil marketing firms while setting petrol prices.

The oil companies had challenged the CCI saying the regulator had no jurisdiction on looking at fixing of petrol prices. The firms had told the CCI they are regulated by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board.

The chairman, who was speaking on the sidelines of the ‘CUTS’-3rd Biennial International Conference on Competition Reforms and Emerging Challenges in a Globalising World’, did not divulge any further details on the issue.

Earlier in an interview, Chawla had said that an appropriate order would be passed since the oil firms have said the CCI cannot even look at issues related to petrol prices.

The CCI had referred the petrol pricing issue to its director general for investigation after gathering information from the petroleum ministry.

The fair trade regulator had observed that even after deregulation, petrol prices were revised almost in equal levels by the state-run oil firms — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

Finding ambiguity in the petrol pricing mechanism, the CCI sought information in this regard from the petroleum ministry.

The ministry said it was not responsible for fixing petrol prices and that oil marketing companies set the rates directly using a formula.

In reply to query on whether the Commission will look into Tata Group’s proposed airline ventures with Singapore Airlines and Air Asia, Chawla said, “No we are not concerned with that. It is a new venture, so we don’t have any information.”

The Tata Group has joined hands with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Air Asia for launching of a full service and low-cost airlines respectively.

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