The Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 is the first enactment to deal with competition issues and came into effect on 1st June 1970. With the liberalization of the economy and the re-definition of the role of the State and of the private sector in the Indian economy, competition policy in India and its governing legal-regulatory framework needed revisiting. The MRTPA was limited in its efficacy and was found inadequate. Consequently, a comprehensive competition legislation known as the Competition Act, 2002 came into being with the passage of the Competition Act by the Parliament and assented to by the President of India on 13th January,2003. This Act seeks to replace the MRTP Act, 1969.
The objectives of the Competition Act are to:
• prevent anti-competitive practices,
• promote and sustain competition in markets,
• protect the interests of the consumers and
• ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets.
SUBSTANTIVE PROVISIONS :- The Competition Act contains substantive provisions dealing with: • anti-competitive agreements;
• the abuse of dominance; and
• merger control.
The Act is extra-territorial and assumes jurisdiction over acts outside India that may affect a market within India.
COMPETITION COMMISSION OF INDIA (CCI):
An authority called the ‘Competition Commission of India’ (CCI) has been constituted by the Central Government to enforce the provisions of the Competition Act. The CCI will be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal with power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable and can contract in its own name. In the discharge of its functions, the CCI shall be guided by the principles of natural justice, and has the power to regulate its own procedures. The Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than ten other Members to be appointed by the Central Government from a panel of names recommended by a Selection Committee. All meetings of the CCI require a quorum of a minimum of three members. The Chairperson and members will be in office for a term of 5 years from the day of their entering such office in the said capacity and will be eligible for reappointment. The CCI will appoint a Secretary and other officers for administration work.
The CCI will be assisted by an investigative arm led by a Director General (DG). The DG holds powers to:
• summon and examine persons on oath;
• require production of documents and receive evidence; and obtain warrants / authorization for search and seizure at offices and residences.
COMPETITION APPELLATE TRIBUNAL (CAT):
An Appellate Tribunal known as the Competition Appellate Tribunal has been established by the Central Government: • to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the CCI; • to adjudicate on claim for compensation that may arise from the findings of the CCI. The Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) shall consist of a chairperson and not more than two other members. The chairperson shall be a person, who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of a High Court. The Competition Act excludes the jurisdiction of civil courts in respect of matters which the CCI or the CAT is empowered to determine under the Competition Act.
EXEMPTIONS: The following spheres of activity relating to the sovereign functions of the government may be exempted by it from the purview of the Competition Act: • security;
• atomic energy;
• treaty obligations; and
• public interest.
The ambit of the Act encompasses every enterprise, other than those excepted, within its fold and enables the Commission to probe, investigate, inquire, regulate and adjudicate any activity /matter of any person or enterprise. All PSUs, Societies, Scientific Societies, Municipal...