The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) exonerated Cadbury India, on a technicality, from charges of Restrictive Trade Practices for insisting on blank cheques, not settling claims and refusing supply of products to its distributor without justifiable reason.

The complaint was filed by a Cadbury distributor from 1971 to 1994. Cadbury had said ithad the right to appoint another distributor for the same region on account of unsatisfactory performance as reported by the Confectioners Welfare Association.

MRTPC chairman C.M. Nayar discharged a notice of enquiry saying the reason for insisting on blank cheques could be that an appropriate amount could be filled in on the basis of the invoice for supply of goods.

The bench relied on a Supreme Court ruling to conclude that "it is possible, on receipt of the supply order, a redistribution stockist might add some more items or delete some items from the order [...] That could be another contigency for insisting on obtaining blank cheques."

By Navroz Havewala, correspondent