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The Hon’ble Supreme Court docket in a latest resolution in
Competitors Fee of India v. State of Mizoram &
1 held that whereas lotteries could also be a regulated
commodity and res additional commercium, the identical wouldn’t
take away the jurisdiction of Competitors Fee of India
(CCI) to look into allegations of anti-competitive
actions in enterprise or providers associated to lotteries. On this
article, we briefly navigate via the details and findings of the
aforementioned resolution.

Transient Info

The current dispute arose pursuant to a grievance that was
obtained by the CCI from a non-public firm (Respondent No.
), in search of investigation below the Competitors Act, 2002
(Competitors Act) in respect of a state lottery
run by the State of Mizoram (State of Mizoram/
Respondent No. 1).

The State of Mizoram had issued an Invitation for Expression of
Curiosity (EoI) via the Director, Institutional
Finance and State Lottery (Respondent No. 2) on 20
December 2011. The EoI invited bids for the appointment of lottery
distributors and promoting brokers for state lotteries to be organized
by the Authorities of Mizoram (Authorities) in phrases
of the Mizoram Lotteries (Regulation) Guidelines, 2011
(Regulation Guidelines) framed below the Lotteries
(Regulation) Act, 1988 (Regulation Act). The EoI
specified that the minimal price mounted by the Authorities is INR 5
lakh per draw for Bumper and INR 10,000 per draw for others – bids
lower than these charges would have been summarily rejected. In
pursuance of the EoI, 5 bids had been obtained which quoted
similar charges matching the minimal price mounted by the Authorities.
4 firms/ partnerships that had quoted similar charges had been
chosen as distributors to function the lotteries as per the
Regulation Guidelines and the Regulation Act. In accordance with the
EoI, the chosen distributors/ promoting brokers had been inter
required to furnish INR 5 crore every as safety, a sum
of INR 1 crore as an advance fee of the sale proceeds, and a
sum of INR 1 crore every in the direction of the prize pool.

Respondent No. 4 made a grievance to the CCI on 16 Could 2012
below Part 3 and 4 learn with Part 19(1)(a) of the Competitors
Act. The substratum of the grievance raised by Respondent No.4 was
that similar affords of INR 10,000 per draw had been made in all 4
bids and a single bid of INR 5 Lacs per draw was made for the
Bumper draw. These quantities had been the minimal charges mounted below the
EoI. The allegation made by Respondent No. 4 was that the bidders
had cartelised and entered into an settlement that had an
considerable adversarial impact on competitors within the lottery enterprise
in Mizoram. Accordingly, Respondent No. 4 submitted that there was
massive rigging and collusive bidding which violated Part 3(1) learn
Part 3(3) of the Competitors Act and likewise prompted grave monetary
loss to the State of Mizoram.

Respondent No. 4 additionally alleged that the State of Mizoram abused
its dominant place as administrator of the lotteries in state by
requiring the distributors to furnish exorbitant sums of cash
in the direction of safety, advance fee, and prize pool even earlier than the
lotteries had been held. This was alleged to be unfair, discriminatory
observe that successfully restricted the availability of the service of
lotteries. The ensuing allegation towards the state was that it
violated Part 4 of the Competitors Act. The prayer made by
Respondent No. 4 was that the EoI needs to be quashed and put aside,
and Respondent No. 1 be restrained from abusing its dominant
place. The Respondent No. 4 additionally sought a restraint order
towards the tender awarded to the chosen bidder and an order
banning the chosen bidders from finishing up enterprise within the
State of Mizoram.

In pursuance of the grievance obtained from Respondent No. 4,
the CCI discovered prima facie proof of cartelization and
bid rigging by the bidders. Accordingly, the CCI required the
Director Common (DG) to conduct an investigation
into the matter. Nevertheless, the CCI opined that there was no
prima facie case made out towards Respondent No. 1 because it
couldn’t be thought of an enterprise or a gaggle below the
Competitors Act. Thus, CCI rejected the grievance of Respondent No.
4 insofar because it involved Respondent No. 1.

The DG in pursuance of the path of CCI, issued a report
dated 14 January 2013 whereby it concluded that respondents Nos. 5
and 6 together with two of the profitable bidders had colluded to type
a cartel and indulged in bid rigging. Thus, they had been in violation
of the provisions contained in Part 3(1) learn with Part 3(3)
of the Competitors Act. Nevertheless, no order was handed towards the
State of Mizoram.

The DG’s report was positioned earlier than the CCI and the events by
an order dated 12 February 2013 had been instructed to file their
objections to the report previous to the oral listening to. Nevertheless,
Respondent No. 1 filed a writ petition earlier than the Gauhati Excessive
Court docket (Excessive Court docket) difficult each the DG report
and CCI’s order dated 12 February 2013. This was adopted by
two extra writ petitions being filed earlier than the Excessive Court docket. The writ
petitions broadly questioned the jurisdiction of CCI to conduct an
inquiry below Part 26(1) of the Competitors Act. It was argued
that lotteries couldn’t be thought of commerce and commerce inside
the which means of Articles 301 to 303 of Structure of India. The
Excessive Court docket held that the lottery exercise being akin to playing
exercise got here below the purview of the doctrine of res additional
. Consequently, the lottery exercise couldn’t be
lined by the Competitors Act and CCI didn’t have the
jurisdiction to entertain the grievance of Respondent No. 4.

Aggrieved by the choice of the Excessive Court docket, CCI filed particular
depart petitions earlier than the Hon’ble Supreme Court docket of India
difficult the orders handed within the three writ petitions. The Apex
Court docket granted depart to CCI and tagged all issues collectively.


The Hon’ble Supreme Court docket opined {that a} easy matter of
anti-competitive practices and cartelization was dragged for nearly
ten years in what gave the impression to be a mis-application of interaction of
Competitors Act and the Regulation Act by the Excessive Court docket. The
Hon’ble Supreme Court docket held that CCI, within the on the spot matter, was
in no way involved with finishing up regulation or prohibition of
lottery enterprise as was ruled below the Regulation Act. Somewhat,
the priority was restricted to the position assigned to CCI below the
Competitors Act, and within the context of EoI, to analyzing any
perceived bid rigging within the tendering course of for appointment of
promoting brokers and distributors for the lottery enterprise.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court docket held that the restricted scrutiny in
the current matter was to look at the mandate of Part 3(1) learn
with Part 3(3) of the Competitors Act. The Apex Court docket noticed
that lotteries could also be a regulated commodity and will even be
res additional commercium‘. That may not take away
the jurisdiction of CCI on one thing which is anti-competitive in
the context of the enterprise associated to lotteries.

The Apex Court docket took be aware of the expansive definition of
‘Service’ below Part 2(u) of the Competitors Act. The
phrase ‘Service’ meant and included ‘service of any
‘, which was to be made accessible to potential
customers. The Apex Court docket opined that purchaser of a lottery ticket is
a possible consumer and a service was made accessible by the promoting
brokers within the context of the Competitors Act. The lottery enterprise
may proceed to be regulated by the Regulation Act. Nevertheless, if
within the tendering course of there was an anti-competitive component
which might require investigation by the CCI, that would not be
prevented below the pretext of the lottery enterprise being res
additional commercium
extra so when a authorities of state determined to
deal in lotteries.

The Apex Court docket noticed that the intervention by the Excessive Court docket
was extraordinarily untimely and that the Excessive Court docket should have
waited for the CCI to return to a conclusion. Alternatively, what
had occurred is that the CCI proceedings had been dropped at a
standstill whereas the Excessive Court docket adjudicated upon the matter.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court docket was of the view that there was
actually no want for the Excessive Court docket to proceed within the current matter.
The proper strategy would have been to shut the proceedings filed
by the Authorities and let the non-public events face the last word
resolution of the CCI. In the event that they had been aggrieved by any adversarial resolution
of CCI, they had been entitled to avail the appellate treatment below
Part 53B of the Competitors Act. Thus, the impugned judgment of
the Excessive Court docket was put aside and the enchantment of CCI was allowed.


The time period ‘Service’ below the Competitors Act has rightly
been accorded an expansive interpretation by the Hon’ble
Supreme Court docket to incorporate enterprise or providers carried out in relation
to lotteries. One other issue that provides energy to the Apex
Court docket’s resolution within the current matter is the truth that a
authorities of state itself had determined to deal in lotteries. This
resolution augments the evolving jurisprudence of anti-trust regulation in
India the place extra sectors are being introduced below the protection of
anti-trust regulation.


1. Competitors Fee of India v. State of
Mizoram & Ors.
, Civil Attraction No. 10820 – 10822 of

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