Competition law is a complex mix of economic and legal principles. With the Indian economy poised at a historic juncture, it is imperative that industry familiarizes itself with the various p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e Competition Law and their implications, said Mr Devender Kumar Sikri, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India (CCI), at the CII conference on ‘Competition Law and Practice’ on 7 October in Mumbai. The Commission, he added, is aware of the issues that industry faces, and will continue to engage with its stakeholders to ease how business is done in India.
Addressing the longstanding demand of industry for guidelines, Mr Sikri announced that the CCI plans to release a Competition Compliance Manual, to help industry stakeholders better understand and navigate the merger control regime in India. The Commission could further alleviate industry concerns by issuing guidelines relating to non-compete clauses and the imposition of penalties, he said. “Under the Prime Minister’s program of ‘Ease of Doing Business,’ we are developing a ‘Know it Yourself Online Module’ to help enterprises understand whether any contemplated transaction is notifiable or not,” he added.
Ms Zia Mody, Chairperson, CII National Committee on Regulatory Affairs, and Managing Partner, AZB & Partners, appreciated that the Commission has done a remarkable job in a short span of time, facilitating communication with its various stakeholders on a regular basis. The competition law regime, she said, is extremely dynamic and is continuously evolving, based on the cases brought before it. There are certain issues that require deliberations, which would thereby ease the way in which business is carried out in India, she said, voicing the industry sentiment that the CCI should issue guidelines on the imposition of penalties.
Mr Bharat Vasani, Member, CII National Committee on Regulatory Affairs, and Chief Legal and Group General Counsel, Tata Sons Ltd, sharing some concerns of industry, said the current merger control regime needs to undergo changes to reduce the number of merger filings, many of which are made merely on technical grounds and would not materially affect the market. He suggested that the Commission should consider having a bench in Mumbai, given the significant M&A activity that arises from the region, and reiterated the need for guidelines to better assist industry to determine the likelihood of penalties which could be imposed, and on the definition of control under the Competition Act, et al.
These sentiments were echoed by Dr Ajit Ranade, Member, CII National Council on Economic Affairs, and Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group. Mr ML Bunker, Member, CCI, presided over the session on ‘Cartels and Leniency,’ while Ms Smita Jhingran, Secretary, CCI, presided over the session on ‘Merger Control- what Impacts Industry?’