Must Knows

What is Competition Commission of India or CCI?

[ecis2016.org] The CCI was launched with the aim of ensuring ethical and healthy competition among enterprises. 

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory body, established under the Competition Act, 2002. It was launched with the aim of ensuring ethical and healthy competition among enterprises. The law replaced the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act), promising better administration. 

The commission oversees market practices by big and small companies to make sure all practices are signs of healthy growth and tussle among the various enterprises. 

Purpose of the Competition Commission

The Competition Commission of India seeks to oversee and regulate all activities of enterprises in the market. It aims to introduce strict measures to make sure no enterprise is overshadowed or subjugated by big players. Its key purposes include: 

  • Abolish unethical practices which can have an adverse impact on market competition.
  • Make sure that the consumer’s interest and welfare are not compromised due to competition.
  • Advocate market competition strategies and promote public awareness of competition issues.
  • Try to harmonise the issues between sectoral regulatory laws and competition laws.
  • Take regulatory steps to make foreign companies abide by India’s competition laws.
  • It oversees the operations of big enterprises to ensure they are not abusing their ‘dominant position’ or power by controlling supply, setting up high purchase prices, or adopting practices that are unethical and may harm budding enterprises.
  • Provide opinions and recommend solutions to solve common issues of market competition among enterprises.

Composition of CCI

The CCI has the composition of a quasi-judicial body, with one chairperson and six additional members. However, not anyone can be included as a member of the CCI. All members of the CCI need to be appointed and approved by the Centre. The central government will take care to choose capable members who have sound reasoning, integrity and standing. 

Additionally, they need to have worked or be qualified as a judge of a High Court. Alternatively, they can also have special knowledge or professional experience of fifteen years or more in sectors like international trade, economics, business, commerce, law, finance, accountancy, management, industry, public affairs, administration or any other matter.

Members of Competition Commission of India

  • All members of CCI are appointed by the Central Government. 
  • The Competition Commission of India has a single chairperson and two additional members.
  • Earlier the CCI had one chairperson and additional members between 2-6 people. However, the Cabinet decided to reduce the number of people to facilitate faster hearings and approvals.
  • The chairperson and all other appointed members work full-time at CCI.

Eligibility criteria to become a CCI member 

  • The chairperson must be mentally sound and have a sense of integrity while being qualified to be a judge of a High Court, 

OR

  • The chairperson may also be someone with experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, business, commerce, law, finance, accountancy, management, industry, public affairs, administration, etc.

Special powers of CCI enlisted in Competition Amendment Bill, 2022

With the recent Competition Amendment Bill, 2022, the powers of the CCI or Competition Commission of India have significantly increased. 

  • The Competition Commission of India has the power to sit for structured negotiations with enterprises to find agreeable and mutually-workable solutions. It can act like Sebi, which has been dealing with issuing settlements.
  • The CCI can make appeals to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal conditional on a pre-deposit of up to 25% of the penalty imposed by the CCI.
  • The Competition Commission of India is allowed catch-all provisions to deter any anti-competitive pacts between enterprises irrespective of their structural relation.

Competition Commission of India: Challenges

The CCI faces multiple challenges while implementing the Competition Laws. The challenges can be both internal and external.

  • The constant and continuous change in the way businesses are undertaken and the evolving antitrust issue is proving to be a significant challenge for the CCI. 
  • The emerging business models are based on a digital economy and e-commerce. This proves to be a problem for the CCI as the current competition laws talk only of assets and turnovers.
  • The inclusion of parameters in the competition and antitrust laws such as data accessibility, network effects, etc., is important to ensure that the Competition laws are relevant in a digital economy.

The number of benches of the CCI has to be increased to pronounce judgments more speedily on the competition cases.

Source: https://ecis2016.org/.
Copyright belongs to: ecis2016.org

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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