HUL Ordered to deposit Rs 90 Crores in the Consumer Welfare Fund by Delhi HC

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HUL Ordered to deposit Rs 90 Crores in the Consumer Welfare Fund by Delhi HC

Delhi High Court in matter of Hindustan Unilever Ltd Vs Union of India dated 16.01.2019

The issue pertains to Anti Profiteering order passed against HUL where under it was directed to deposit Rs.233 Crores. In the Writ Petition filed against the said order, the Delhi HC passed the following interim orders:

We have heard learned Senior Advocate for the petitioner and the learned Additional Solicitor General, who has entered appearance on behalf of the respondents. Learned senior counsel for the petitioner, during the course of hearing, has filed the following chart before us:

S.No.

Issue

Amount(in crores)

1

Amount denied on extra grammage being claimed

Rs. 27.77

2

Amount refunded to Modern Trade Dealers but being denied

Rs. 26.37

3

Loss in North East Exemption being denied

Rs. 45.31

4

Packing material with old MRP written off

Rs. 7.80

5

Tax on Tax demanded

Rs. 63.99

6

Amount recovered from Dealers and deposited with the Government being demanded again

Rs. 36.25

7

TRAN-2 credit

Rs. 78.97

A number of issues and contentions have been raised on each of the seven issues mentioned in the aforesaid chart. We need not elaborate upon and go into the said aspects at this stage since the matter does require consideration and response from the respondents.

Regarding serial no. 6, it is pointed out that an amount of Rs. 36.25 crores has already been deposited with the Government, which fact is not disputed. With regard to serial no. 7, it is the contention of the petitioner  that TRAN-2 credit was made available in March, 2018, therefore the impugned order is erroneous. On serial no. 3 i.e. loss in North- East Exemption, our attention was drawn to paragraph No. 69 of the petition to submit that the reduction in compensation has not been accounted for and has been treated as irrelevant. On sale of products to ‘Modern Trade Dealers’, evidence was produced but the insistence was that the consumer sale price by the customers of the ‘Modern Trade Dealers’ should be produced.

Learned counsel for the respondents has contested the submission and on the last aspect submitted that the documents on the amount refunded to Modern Trade Dealers have not been duly certified.

In view of the submissions and contentions raised, we direct that the petitioner shall deposit Rs. 90 crores with the Central Consumer Welfare Fund in two instalments of Rs. 50 crores and Rs. 40 crores which would be paid on or before 15th March, 2019 and 15th May, 2019 respectively. We have passed the said direction after we have been informed that the petitioner has already deposited Rs. 160 crores. While computing the said figure, we have also taken into account the amounts mentioned in the afore- quoted chart.

Subject to the said deposit, no coercive steps would be taken in proceedings pursuant to the impugned order. Penalty proceeding would be kept in abeyance.

However, investigation, as directed, would continue and orders may be passed. It will be open for the petitioner to file an application in the present writ petition or a fresh writ petition in case of an adverse order in such investigation.

Counter-affidavit would be filed within six weeks.

Rejoinder to the aforesaid counter-affidavit would be filed within four weeks thereafter.

Re-list on 16th April, 2019.

Dasti under signature of the Court Master.

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