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Rounding of fares cannot be classified as exploitative abuse of dominance by Railways

February 5, 2020[2020] 114 taxmann.com 73 (CCI)
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COMPETITION LAW : Rounding of fares cannot be classified as exploitative abuse by Railways

• Informant filed an information against OP i.e., Ministry of Railways alleging that it had abused its dominant position by rounding off actual base fare to the next higher multiple of Rs.5 to arrive at the total base fare.

• Held that rounding off of fares by Ministry of Railways(OP) appears to be a policy decision of OP, which was even placed before the Parliament of India, by the then Railway Minister in the year 1995. The decision of rounding off has been made in a transparent manner and applied uniformly without there being any discrimination qua passengers of OP. Thus, the policy has been stated to be duly backed by commensurate social and commercial justification and such conduct cannot be classified as exploitative abuse by a dominant enterprise. Rounding off of fares though on first blush may appear to be unfair qua passengers, but on a fair assessment and on weighing the scale evenly, does not seem to have potential to adversely affect the interest of consumers from a competition standpoint, particularly when there is no evidence that any of the passengers have been discriminated against vis-à-vis the others .Thus, no case of contravention of the provisions of Section 4 arise against OP.

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