The Supreme Court has termed as "unacceptable" the out-of-turn listing of an appeal of real estate major DLF Ltd against imposition of fine of Rs 630 crore by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on it for allegedly adopting "unfair business practices".
"My brother judge (Justice N V Ramana) just told me what is happening in this matter. This is just not acceptable. When people are rotting in jails for years, you do not expect us to take up this 2014 matter. How a regular appeal is listed as an after notice matter," Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was heading the bench, said.
The bench also said that it has asked the concerned Registry official to explain this listing of the matter.
Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for the real estate firm, said, "we have nothing to do with this. Please do not make adverse observations. This is widely watched case." "We must know how our Registry is functioning.
We have an issue with the Registry. We have asked the officer to come and explain. We can clean our house," the bench said, adding that now the plea of DLF will be kept at the "bottom" of regular list.
Earlier, the hearing on the plea of DLF Ltd was deferred as Justice S J Mukhopadhyaya, then heading the bench, had said that he will not be able to hear and decide it as he would demit office on March 14.
Prior to it, the bench had declined DLF's plea to restrain the CCI from passing more penalty orders against it for alleged abuse of dominant position in real estate markets till apex court is hearing the case.
The real estate firm had also submitted before the court that it should be allowed to deposit balance Rs 480 crore out of total Rs 630 crore fine imposed on it by CCI in six monthly installments starting January 15.
CCI had slapped a fine of Rs 630 crore on the real estate firm for allegedly resorting to unfair business practices. DLF had deposited Rs 150 crore of the total fine with the apex court Registry. The court had in its August 27 last year's order said the Registry would be at liberty to invest it in any of the nationalized banks.