Provisions in Competition Amendment Bill to reduce caseload on CCI: CUTS

Business-standard, September 06, 2022

The proposed introduction of a settlement and commitment framework and deal value threshold for M&A notification under the competition law will enhance the ease of doing business, CUTS International said on Tuesday.

Advocacy group CUTS welcomed the introduction of a framework for settlement and commitment in the law, improving the leniency framework, introduction of limitation, introduction of deal value threshold for M&A notification, and recognition of hub and spoke cartels etc in the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

“All these are likely to reduce caseload on the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as well as enhance ease of doing business,” CUTS said in its comments on the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022, submitted to the Parliament Standing Committee on Finance.

However, there are certain provisions of the Bill that may need reconsideration, it added.

The Competition (Amendment) Bill proposed that the CCI shall not entertain information (or reference) unless it is filed within three years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen.

“A provision can be added to make an exception for cartels,” CUTS said in its comments.

According to CUTS, consumers must be compensated for the harm done due to cartels even if the same operated more than three years ago. Exempting cartels from limitation will also keep the deterrence part intact, which is the main reason for exemplary fines in such cases.

On August 5, the government introduced the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022, in the Lok Sabha to amend various provisions of the competition law and the bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.

It will be the first time since the enforcement of the Competition Act in 2009 that amendments will be made to the Act.

The Act was brought in 2002 and subsequently, it underwent amendments in 2007 and 2009. In May 2009, the antitrust provisions of the law came into force and two years later in May 2011, the CCI started screening mergers and acquisitions.

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