The Supreme Court stayed penalties of Rs. 6,300 crores imposed on cement companies over alleged cartelization and asked them to deposit only 10% of the amount, under an order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday, i.e. 05/10/2018.
In August 2016, the CCI had finned around Rs 6,300 crores in penalties on 11 cement companies, such as, Ambuja Cement Ltd, UltraTech Cement Ltd, Ramco Cements Ltd, ACC Ltd and JK Cement Ltd, as well as Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA), the industry body, for taking part in cartelization activities.
Also in its August 2016 order, the CCI, apart from penalizing the CMA, had directed all the firms to “cease and desist” from mixing in any activity relating to agreement, understanding or arrangement on prices, production and supply of cement in the market.
CCI said that the actions of the companies and the CMA were not only harmful to the interests of consumers, but also to the whole economy as cement is a critical input in construction and infrastructure industry and vital for the economic development, after penalising the companies for their actions.
This was challenged by the cement makers before the Competition Appellate Tribunal, the previous appellate body, which asked the CCI to issue a fresh order.
After that, the cement manufacturers challenged the CCI’s order for the penalty in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which upheld the CCI’s order on 25 July.
The CCI had imposed the highest penalty of Rs. 1,175.49 crores on Aditya Birla group firm UltraTech.