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Pursuing Remedies in a Malafide Manner is Gross Abuse of Process of Law: Competition Commission of India

The Appellant had engaged in a blatant misconduct by exploiting the regulatory process; requesting that the final order issued by CCI under Section 26(2) of the Act, upheld by the Hon’ble Appellate Tribunal and the Supreme Court be revisited. This was observed in the matter of In Re: Major Pankaj Rai and NIIT Ltd, [C. No. 47 of 2017] With Pankaj Gupta and NIIT Ltd. [C. No. 48 of 2017] With Shri. Lakshmi Reddy Eddula and NIIT Ltd. [ C. No. 49 of 2017] before Hon’ble Chairperson Ashok Kumar Gupta and Member Sangeeta Verma.

The brief facts of the case are as follows: the CCI passed an order u/s 26(2) of the Act and found that the provisions of the Act were not in violation. Mr. Pankaj then challenged the decision through Writ Petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Hyderabad. It was dismissed as the order should have been challenged before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). Dissatisfied, he went for an intra-court appeal before the Division Bench, which was also dismissed. Yet, he filed a review petition before the High Court, in order to expedite the same, he filed a writ petition before the Apex Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. Even this was dismissed, and the review petition pending before the High Court was withdrawn by the Appellant.

In his application to the Commission for condonation of delay, he falsely stated that the review petition had been “withdrawn with the liberty to approach NCLAT.” An appeal to the NCLAT was made after 730 days. It was dismissed, and the NCLAT noted that the Appellant was stubborn and continued pursuing the Constitutional Courts when he was asked to approach the NCLAT, thus it was not a ‘sufficient cause’ for appeal. Further, it was barred by limitation and the appellant has himself to blame for any kind of injustice caused to him. This decision was challenged before the Supreme Court, which reiterated the same and opined that the “appellant persisted with a manifestly misconceived remedy…….and should have filed an appeal within 60 days but did it over a delay of 700 days”. He then resorted to a review petition which also stood dismissed.

Therefore, the CCI held that, “it is manifestly evident that Major Pankaj Rai was not pursuing his remedies in a bona fide manner. As previously noted, the Commission passed a final order under Section 26(2) of the Act closing the matter on 28.11.2017. The statutory appeals filed thereagainst first before the Hon’ble Appellate Tribunal and subsequently before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, stand dismissed, as noted supra. In these circumstances, filing of the instant application seeking review/ recall of the order dated 28.11.2017 passed by the Commission which has attained finality, is gross abuse of the process of law. The Commission has also taken a serious note of the false averment made by Major Pankaj Rai in the application”.

Click Here to Read the Order

Judgement Reviewed by Vagisha Sagar

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