The Competition Commission has ruled against the contempt competition filed by Karun Daggal, Gurpreet Pal Singh, and Devendra Bajpai against the All India Chess Federation. The three players had been banned by the Federation last year and were seeking compensation for loss of opportunities.
In response to the petition filed by chess players Karun Daggal, Gurpreet Pal Singh, and Devendra Bajpai, the Competition Commission of India has decided to act in All India Chess Federation’s favour, letting it go without a fine but directing it to comply with its orders in letter and spirit within stipulated timelines through an order dated July 24.
“[The order] shall be without prejudice to any other proceedings that are pending against AICF, either before the NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) or any other court in respect of the conduct(s) which has been found to be in contravention of the provisions of the Act,” the CCI’s order read, according to Scroll.in.
The three players had been participating in tournaments organized by the Chess Association of India, which was against the AICF’s undertakings for players regarding non-participation in events it hadn’t authorized. However, the CCI had ordered on July 12, 2018 that such an undertaking amounted to restraints that are in the nature of exclusive distribution and refusal to deal as defined in Section 3(f) and 3(4)(d) of the Competition Act, 2002. It further imposed a fine of Rs. 6.92 lakh on the AICF for violation of Section four of the Act, giving the federation 60 days to clear its dues and submit a compliance report.
The order further stated that disciplinary action can only be taken by AICF once it had highlighted clearly the prejudice caused by the player in question.
The AICF had then submitted an affidavit which stated that the federation had acted according to the July 12, 2018 order, in an attempt to request the CCI to close the proceedings ongoing under Section 42 and also ensure that there is a record of satisfactory compliance of the order. The CCI’s latest order came in reference to the said affidavit. Section 42 has provisions for imprisonment and fines up to Rs. 25 crores for non-compliance with orders and failure to pay fines.
“It is a clear oversight on the part of the commission. They did not accord us any hearing or even inspection of documents. AICF submitted a false affidavit and tried to manipulate the course of justice. The registration form still has a clause which says, 'I apologise for playing in unauthorised tournaments,”' Karan Duggal reacted on the CCI’s order.
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