SC stays over Rs 800 cr penalty imposed on beer companies for cartelisation

The Supreme Court stayed the order of the NCLAT, which upheld the penalty of Rs 751.83 cr and recovery proceeding imposed on Heineken's Indian subsidiary by the Competition Commission of India (CCI)

IANS New Delhi
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The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which upheld the penalty of Rs 751.83 crore and recovery proceeding imposed on Heineken's Indian subsidiary i.e., United Breweries Ltd (UBL), by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

A bench of Justices Vikram Nath and Dipankar Datta issued the interim stay on a clutch of appeals filed by the companies and some individuals against the NCLAT order that had refused to interfere with the penalty imposed by the CCI in 2021.

In September 2021, the CCI found UBL, SABMiller India Ltd (now renamed Anheuser Busch InBev India Ltd.), Carlsberg India Private Ltd, and All India Brewers' Association guilty of cartelisation in the beer market and had imposed a total penalty of about Rs 862 crore. UBL was directed to pay Rs 751.83 crore.

In December last year, the NCLAT judgment affirmed the CCI order. UB, Carlsberg India and the All India Breweries Association had challenged the NCLAT order passed in December 2022. Trilegal Competition led by Nisha Kaur Uberoi, partner and national head - competition engaged senior advocates Aryama Sundaram and Aditya Sondhi.

The appellant companies before the NCLAT had argued that the CCI's order was liable to be set aside since it found them guilty only on the basis of their leniency application. The companies contended that a leniency application was to be examined at the time of imposing a penalty, and could not be treated as information for initiation of inquiry.


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First Published: Feb 17 2023 | 11:30 PM IST

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