Milestone: At the National Level

Experiences with the Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices
(MRTP) Act, 1969

  • Misleading Sales: CUTS filed an unfair-trade-practice case in the Commission, in August, 1984 against Bal Krishna Khurana, for misleading customers and alleged ‘bait and switch’ approach to selling consumer goods (clothing). The Commission passed an ex parte order against Khurana and also directed newspapers to stop accepting such misleading advertisements.
  • HLL-TOMCO Case: Soon after the MRTP Act was amended in 1991, dropping the sections on mergers and acquisitions, Unilever’s Indian subsidiary – Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) took over Tata Oil Mills Co Ltd (TOMCO). CUTS challenged the merger before the MRTP Commission. The case gave enough fillip to the consumer movement to rally for re-introduction of the merger review provisions etc. In 2002, the new Competition Act was passed with merger review provisions in it.
  • Matchbox Scam: CUTS filed a case against a matchbox manufacturer in the year 1985 for perennial shortage of matchsticks in their matchboxes, which changed the whole industry picture. The case got a huge publicity, and helped CUTS establish itself.
  • Vitamins Cartel: In 2001, CUTS filed a complaint with the Director General (Investigation & Registration), India against the global vitamin cartel involving several leading drug manufacturers of the world.
  • Lobbying for a new Competition law: CUTS has been at the forefront in pointing out the irrelevance of the prevalent regime under the Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969. The Competition Bill drafted by the government in 2001 took into consideration improvements and clarifications suggested by CUTS.CUTS also published a ‘Bill Blow-up’, which contained the highlights and a critique of the new Bill. CUTS represented Consumer Coordination Council before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Bill. The new Competition Act (2002) incorporated many of CUTS recommendations.
  • Amendments to the Competition Act, 2002: As a result of CUTS interventions in a case challenging the appointment of a bureaucrat as the Chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the Supreme Court of India came up with its verdict in 2005, suggesting the central government to make provision for an expert to head the Commission
  • National Competition Policy for India: The Government appointed an Advisory Committee on the National Competition Policy, and the Secretary General of CUTS, Pradeep Mehta was invited to join the Advisory Committee as a member in December 2005.
  • E-discussion Groups: Discourse on national competition policy and regulatory policy related aspects in India is moderated by CUTS through an e-discussion group called FunComp Forum. This group has almost 1,000 members. CUTS also manages an e-discussion group referred to as CompetitiOnlineForum (COLF) with a membership of nearly 2,000 members. It includes practitioners, academicians, development partners, intergovernmental organisations, representatives of national governments and civil society organisation.
  • INCSOC (International Network of Civil Society Organisation on Competition): An important milestone in global advocacy on competition was reached with the formation of INCSOC ( with CUTS’s initiative and with CUTS being its Secretariat. The mission of the Network is “to promote and maintain a healthy competition culture around the world by coalition building among civil society and other interested organisations”.
  • Competition Regimes in the World – A Civil Society Report (CirComp): CUTS published this book in 2006, comprising of country essays delving on the state of competition law and policy from around 120 countries of the World.The book analyses competition regimes from the civil society’s perspective.
  • Association with Developing Country Competition Authorities: On account of CUTS research work and advocacy activities, the organisation has built up sound working relationship with various Competition Agency in the developing world and has been closely associated for long with the activities of the competition authorities of Kenya and Zambia, and more recently with Vietnam, Ethiopia, Malawi and Namibia.
  • Networking and coalition building with civil society world over: As a planned activity of the Outreach programme, CUTS has been distributing its publications widely through out the world. Many CSOs have acknowledged the help provided by these publications to them.
  • In 2001, CUTS designed a Consumer Protection Programme in Bhutan, and framed a hybrid consumer and competition law, which could serve as a sort of a role model for small economies.
  • 7-Up is an approach institutionalised by CUTS and recognized by the international community for implementing competition reforms initiatives in developing countries through a research based advocacy approach involving on participatory process. CUTS has tested this approach through projects in nearly 30 countries across Asia and Africa.
  • UNCTAD collaborated with CUTS in implementing the project “Investment for Development” (implemented over the period 2001-04) and identified CUTS as a strategic partner for future activities.