COVID -19 and Competition Law Concerns 

 Introduction

The outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic has disrupted business globally including, in some cases, the disrupters themselves. As companies around the world prepare to respond to the effects of this pandemic on their businesses, they must become aware of the challenges and opportunities that competition law present. Businesses that are expecting significant losses due to reduced revenue may look at cooperation with their competitors as the one way of overcoming these tough times. On the other hand, companies selling essential/scarce products such as medical supplies, may attempt to capitalise on this situation by increasing prices or bundling non-essential products with the essential ones. Whilst coordination between competitors (either by way of collaboration or through concerted practices) or imposition of unfair and/or discriminatory prices or conditions may seem to be an obvious and efficient way to respond to or benefit from the current challenges, companies need to be mindful of the fact that the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Competition Act) continue to apply even during the tough times, perhaps even more so.
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Constitutional Validity of Certain provisions of Competition Act

In a landmark decision on 10 April 2019, a division bench of the High Court of Delhi (Delhi HC), pronounced a judgment relating to a batch of petitions filed by car manufacturers, which challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act).

The genesis of the matter arose from the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) findings in what has come to be known as the Auto Parts Case. The complaint alleged that three car manufacturers, M/s. Honda Siel Cars India Ltd, Volkswagen India Pvt. Ltd and Fiat India Automobiles Limited, restricted free availability of spare parts in the open market, which caused a denial of market access for independent repairers. This was in addition to other anti-competitive effects including high prices of spare parts and repair and maintenance services for automobiles.
Continue Reading Landmark Decision: Constitutional Validity of Certain Provisions of the Competition Act

sixth amendment to competition law india

In an attempt to further streamline the merger control process, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has for the sixth time[1] since the introduction of the merger control regime in India, amended the Competition Commission of India (Procedure in regard to the transaction of business relating to combinations) Regulations, 2011 (Combination Regulations).

The amendments to the Combination Regulations, notified on 9 October 2018(Amendment Regulations), reiterate the CCI’s constant endeavour to bring greater clarity and transparency to the merger control process.
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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

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has, for the sixth time since the introduction of the merger control regime in India, proposed amendments (Proposed Amendments) to the Competition Commission of India (Procedure in regard to the transaction of business relating to combinations) Regulations, 2011 (Combination Regulations).

The Combination Regulations are the principal regulations governing the merger notification process in India.[1] Some of the changes proposed by the CCI seem to be aimed at addressing issues that have arisen in the implementation of the merger control regime over the past couple of years whereas others seek to incorporate procedures that are already being followed by the CCI in practice. The changes, currently in draft form while the CCI seeks stakeholder views , are highlighted in brief below.
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The Competition Commission of India (CCI), in its order dated 11 July 2018[1], has awarded a 100 per cent reduction in penalty to leniency applicants Globecast India Private Limited (GI) and Globecast Asia Private Limited (GA) (collectively referred to as Globecast), along with their respective responsible office-bearers. It has also awarded a 30 per cent reduction to Essel Shyam Communication Limited (now Planetcast Media Services Limited) (ESCL) along with their responsible officer bearers, in a cartel case in the broadcasting services industry.

This is the latest and the fourth such order of the CCI granting reduction of penalty to applicant(s) under Section 46 of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) and the Competition Commission of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009 (Leniency Regulations).


Continue Reading Fourth Order in Less than Two Years: The CCI’s Leniency Regime Gathers Momentum