E-homes with pre-fitted gadgets akin to other residential units; their developer isn’t dominant player

E-homes with facilities like wifi, finger print security cannot be said to be different from other residential units
a) The informant, allottee of e-homes, filed information alleging abuse of dominance by Opposite Party (‘OP’) for adopting anti-competitive practices for the allotment of their e-homes;
b) He alleged that the e-homes developed by OP were likely to attract buyers who wanted to buy homes pre-fitted with hi-tech gadgets like wifi, finger print security system, parkings lots, etc;
c) He also contended that the OP created the special category of e-homes and had acquired a 100% dominant status for being the only real estate developer to design and develop such e-homes in Delhi/NCR;
d) As a result of the dominance enjoyed by OP, it started demanding high premiums and forced allottees to sign an Allotment Agreement.
The Competition Commission held as under:
1) The argument of informant that ‘the provision for services of e-home’ was a distinct product having separate market for itself, does not seem to be convincing because the facilities being provided by the OP like prefitted hi-tech gadgets, i.e., wifi, finger print security system, parking lots, etc., could easily be installed in any house without much structural modifications and alterations;
2) Thus, e-homes in question couldn’t be deemed as different products from other residential flats;
3) There has been no information in the public domain to prove that the OP was a dominant real estate developer in the relevant market and it had been abusing its position of dominance;
4) As per the information in public domain, there were several upcoming residential projects in Delhi/NCR and OP was not the only real estate developer in the relevant geographical market;
5) Therefore, the OP did not, prima facie, appear to be a dominant player in the relevant market. In the absence of dominance of OP in the relevant market, there was, prima facie, no reason for abuse of dominance in that market – ACHYUT P. RAO V. DESIGNARCH INFRASTRUCTURE (P.) LTD. (2013) 38 taxmann.com 380 (CCI)

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