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Director in the Competition Practice at the Delhi Office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Anu focuses on Competition, International Trade and TMT laws and routinely advises clients on legal and regulatory issues in the technology, media and telecom space as well as a full range of competition law issues. She can be reached at anu.monga@cyrilshroff.com

Rajasthan Cylinders and Containers Ltd v Union of India & Anr - Competition Law 

Can enterprises be in violation of the Competition Act, 2002 (Competition Act) when prevailing market conditions are themselves not conducive to a competitive market?

This is an interesting question relating to enforcement of the Competition Act, which was dealt with by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) in the case of Rajasthan Cylinders and Containers Ltd v Union of India & Anr[1].

The case arose from a tender floated by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) for the purchase of LPG cylinders. Curiously, it was not IOCL (the buyer) that had approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging contravention of the Competition Act. In fact, it was an LPG cylinder manufacturer that approached the CCI challenging the tender conditions imposed by IOCL. However, while the case against IOCL was closed, during the investigation of the aforesaid tender, the Director General (DG) noticed a similar pattern in a bid submission by LPG cylinder manufacturers. This chain of events led the CCI to initiate an inquiry, on its own motion, into the alleged cartelisation and bid-rigging by LPG cylinder manufacturers. Continue Reading Supreme Court Builds on Excel Crop Care Judgment to Examine Oligopsony in a Cartel Matter

Can an enterprise agree with its competitors not to hire each other’s employees without violating antitrust laws? Like any other practice of an enterprise, hiring practices may also violate antitrust laws. From an antitrust perspective, enterprises competing against each other to hire or retain employees are competitors in the employment marketplace irrespective of whether they sell the same product or provide the same services. Therefore, any agreement between employers, expressly or implicitly, agreeing not to hire each other’s employees, even if done to reduce costs, may violate antitrust laws.

With increasing protectionist barriers around the globe, companies are rushing to find new opportunities to expand and grow. As a result, competition among companies is unavoidable. This competition is not limited to goods or services offered by these companies and may extend to the hiring of employees, especially in industries where skilled talent is required. Companies have a collective interest to eliminate this competition by forming a no-poaching agreement amongst themselves, which restricts hiring each other’s employees. However, no-poaching agreements may be in violation of antitrust laws as they impose restrictions on employees to pursue other jobs, as well as limiting their remuneration.

The Hong Kong Competition Commission (HKCC) has highlighted this issue by publishing an Advisory Bulletin: ‘Competition concerns regarding certain practices in employment marketplace in relating to hiring and terms and conditions of employment’. Before reporting some of the key findings and recommendations of the HKCC, we map the competition law developments in this area from around the globe.*

Continue Reading Non-solicitation in the Context of Competition and Labour Laws