Competition Amendment Bill 2022

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Competition Amendment Bill, 2022

Recently, an amendment to the Competition Act, 2002 has been proposed through the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

The proposed amendments are the following:

  • A settlement and commitment framework will be put in place for speedy resolution of investigations into anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position.
  • Mergers and acquisitions (combinations) will be regulated on the basis of transaction value.
  • Enterprises or individuals engaged in similar businesses as well as those now involved in different businesses will also be brought under the purview of anti-competitive agreements.
  • The time limit for the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to form a prima facie opinion on a matter has been reduced from 30 days to 20 days.
  • The overall time limit for approval of mergers and acquisitions has been proposed to be reduced from 210 days to 150 days.

Major Changes Proposed by the Committee

  • The committee is of the opinion that cartels should also be included in the ambit of settlement.
  • Cartels are associations of products or companies. Its main objective is to increase profit by fixing prices without mutual competition.
  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had already clarified that it will issue detailed rules for settlement and commitment mechanism to reduce arbitrariness and ensure accountability.
  • The method of computing the transaction value should be mentioned.
  • Reducing the timeline may be burdensome for CCI, as it is already facing staff crunch.
  • The commission should have at least one judicial member.

Competition Act, 2002

  • The Competition Act was passed in the year 2002 and was amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007. It follows the philosophy of modern competition laws.
  • The Act prohibits the entering into of anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position by enterprises or individuals and regulates combinations.
  • Anti-competitive agreements have or are likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.
  • It provides for the establishment of the Competition Commission of India and the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT).
  • The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) was replaced by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in the year 2017 by the government.

Competition Commission of India (CCI)

  • The Competition Commission of India was constituted in March 2009. It is a statutory body implementing the objectives of the Competition Act, 2002.
  • The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (MRTP Act), 1969 has been repealed and replaced by the Competition Act, 2002 based on the recommendations of the Raghavan Committee.
  • As per the Competition Act, the commission consists of a chairperson and 6 members who are appointed by the central government. Its chairman and other members are full time.
  • The commission is a quasi-judicial body that acts as an advisor to the statutory authorities.

Source – The Hindu

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