MRTPC dismisses citizen body's petition challenging concession agreement with BIAL

New Delhi: Fair trade practices regulator, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) has dismissed a petition by a Bangalore-based citizen's body which challenged the exclusive agreement between developers of Bangalore's new airport, the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) and the Centre. Under provisions of the agreement, the government cannot sanction any new airport within 150 km radius of the new airport anytime over the next 25 years.

It was the Bangalore-based Association of Outsourcing Professionals (AOP) case that by granting such 'concession agreement' to BIAL, the government created a monopoly in their favour. This contention, however, was rejected by the MRTPC, on the ground that the agreement was entered into by the government and any agreement in which the Centre is an approver, or a party, does not comes under the purview of monopolistic trade practices.

The MRTPC bench, headed by Justice OP Dwivedi, declined to pass any order and said the MRTP Act "clearly bars the jurisdiction of this commission from taking congnizance as Government of India is a party to it."

The bench added, "we hold that this complaint is not maintainable and no notices to be issued to respondent (centre). Accordingly, the complaint is dismissed".

The Commission also rejected AOP's contention that the Centre's agreement does not come under 'sovereign immunity' as it was a commercial act.