The Delhi High Court has stayed a March 25 order of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), which imposed a Rs 1 lakh fine on Snapdeal and directed a recall of non-standard pressure cookers which were listed for sale on the platform.
Issuing a notice to the respondents, Justice Yashwant Varma said there shall be a stay of the order till the next date of listing, and slated the matter for July 26.
“The Court takes on board the undertaking of the petitioner that in case the present challenge ultimately fails, the amounts as due and payable in terms thereof shall be duly refunded,” read the order dated April 12.
The ambit of the CCPA’s action was based on an assumption that the absence of information at the point of sale on the platform as to whether the said products conform to the Indian Standard IS 2347: 2017 (for pressure cookers) meant that the products were defective and that this was an actionable wrong against the platform under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
Snapdeal was represented by Fidus Law Chambers in this matter and was led by Senior Advocate Jayant Mehta.
The Court has taken note of the submissions made by the counsel for Snapdeal that due process was not followed by CCPA in arriving at its decision.
Snapdeal argued that due process was not followed by CCPA in that the vendors who ought to be liable for any infractions under the Consumer Protection Act and the BIS regulations, were not even party to the proceedings and the liability was pinned entirely on the platform which is not the seller of the products but a marketplace where the goods were listed for sale by the respective sellers.
This is contrary to the Consumer Protection Act under which orders can be passed against manufacturers, endorsers, advertiser, publisher, and traders.
The Court noted the contention that Snapdeal is merely an intermediary and only provides a platform to manufacturers and sellers to sell their products and therefore could not have been saddled with penalty and compliance of the directions by CCPA.
It also noted the arguments of Snapdeal that the articles in question did in fact enjoy the requisite BIS certification.
The court noted that the contentions raised by the counsel for Snapdeal required further consideration.