Decided on August 30,1994



A.N. Varma, Chairman - (1.) THIS enquiry was instituted under Section 36B(d) and Section 3GD of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969, against the respondent which is engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling printing machines. The allegation against the respondent was that it had made certain false and misleading representations while selling a printing machine to Abitha Printers of which K. Parameswaran was the proprietor. Shri Parameswaran submitted a complaint before the Commission stating that in December, 1983, Shri J. K. Shah, a broker of the respondent, approached him and said that if he was interested in improving the efficiency and profitability of his business he might go in for the printing machine being manufactured by the respondent. The complainant further states that he believed the broker and placed an order for the printing machine with the respondent in response to which the complainant received a pro forma invoice dated February 22, 1984, on February 27, 1984. The complainant arranged for the amount of Rs. 37,415 and deposited the sum on April 24, 1984, with the Canara Bank, Madras, in favour of the respondent. In pursuance of the order of the complainant a further sum of Rs. 1.36,000 was deposited by him with the respondent. Eventually the printing machine was supplied by the respondent but it was discovered that the machine was damaged. The respondent refused to replace the damaged parts or to repair the printing machine despite repeated requests. The complainant, therefore, submitted that the respondent had clearly indulged in unfair trade practices attracting the provision's of Section 36A(1)(i), (vii) and (viii) of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act,
(2.) The Commission ordered a preliminary investigation which confirmed the allegations made by the complainant. As a result, the Director (Research) who had conducted the investigation recommended in his preliminary investigation report that an enquiry under Section 36A(1)(i), (vii) and (viii) be instituted against the respondent. On the basis of the preliminary investigation report, the Commission instituted the present enquiry and issued a notice of enquiry to the respondent in reply to which the respondent submitted its version raising, inter alia, the plea of lack of jurisdiction in the Commission to take cognizance of the complaint on the ground that the allegations of unfair trade practices related to a period prior to the insertion of the Chapter on unfair trade practices in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969. It is unnecessary to set out the defence of the respondent on the merits of the complaint in view of the fact that the preliminary objection relating to the jurisdiction of the Commission has to be upheld even on the facts which are not in dispute.
(3.) ON the pleas raised by the respondent in its reply four issues were struck by the Commission vide its order dated March 20, 1991. The first issue was "whether the notice of enquiry is not maintainable for reasons mentioned in the reply to the notice of enquiry." The preliminary objection was repeated before us by Shri V. S. Joneja, learned counsel for the respondent. He invited our attention to the allegations made in the complaint and submitted that all the allegations made by the complainant against the respondent which were stated to constitute unfair trade practices related to the period prior to 1st August, 1984, the date on which the chapter on unfair trade practices was inserted in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act.;

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