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Transfer Of Property Has to Take Effect Within the Confines of The Governing Law: Competition Commission of India

The Commission upheld the autonomy of the Chandigarh Housing Board in prescribing guidelines and policies from time to time as it may deemfit, in relation to transfer of property. This authority cannot be considered as ‘unfair’, ‘restrictive trade practices’ and ‘abuse of dominant position’ or in violation of Section 3 and 4 of the Competition Act. An order under Section 26(2) of the Competition Act, 2002 was passed in the matter of In Re: Manmohan Singh and Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board and Others, Case No. 31 of 2021 by Chairperson, Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta, and Members, Ms. Sangeeta Verma and Mr. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi.  

The Informant (Mr. Manmohan) had filed Information under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act on the ground that the opposite party has contravened Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act. The dispute revolves around a dwelling unit that was allotted to the Informant’s father. After his demise, the Informant had sent an application with all relevant documents, for transferring the dwelling unit in his name to the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) on 3rd August 2009. He claims that even after providing the necessary documents, the unit was not transferred to him, and that it was in 2018 that the CHB informed him about their latest policy, in lieu of which he was asked to resend the documents. He contended that the said policy was inapplicable in his case, as he had applied for the transfer in 2009, the same was rejected by the CHB. He also claimed compensation of Rs. 75 Lakhs for the loss he suffered as he was unable to sell the unit and restoration of his application under Section 33 of the Act.

On further investigation the Commission noted that, there was some irregularity in the signature of one of the legal heirs on the joint affidavit, and so the Informant was asked to submit a fresh one. The Informant approached CHB in 2018 when the CHB asked him to file a fresh affidavit in 2012 itself. Since, he approached the board in 2018 he had to comply with its latest policy.

Therefore, the Commission noted that, “the Informant has not been able to make out any case of contravention of the provisions of section 3 of the Act. Further, in relation to alleged contravention of the provisions of section 4 of the Act, the Commission prima facie observes that no competition concern is noticed and therefore, the delineation of relevant market and subsequent assessment of dominance and abuse are dispensable in the instant case……In the facts and circumstances of the present matter transfer of property has to take effect within the confines of the governing law for which the CHB may prescribe certain guidelines/policies from time to time, in consonance with the legal requirements, as it may deem appropriate. No abuse, per se, can be found in such circumstances”; and that, “the matter be closed under Section 26(2) of the Competition Act, 2002. Consequently, no case for grant for relief(s) as sought under Section 33 of the Act arises, and the same is also rejected.”

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Judgement Reviewed by Vagisha Sagar

 

 

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