COMPETITION COMMISSION OF INDIA v. BHARTI AIRTEL 

INTRODUCTION 

A two-judge bench of The Supreme Court of India (‘SC’), on 5th December, 2018 res olved the conflict of jurisdiction between Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) a ndTRAI and the interplay of roles of the two regulators. CCI is a sector-agnostic regul ator authorised to “promote and sustain competition in markets of India”. Whereas, T RAI is sector specific regulator delegated to “promote and ensure orderly growth of te lecom sector.”

 BACKGROUND 

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited filed an application under Section 19(1) of the Compe tition Act, 2002 which states that the commission may inquire into certain agreements and dominant position of enterprise[4], alleging abuse of dominant position and carte lization by Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular Limited, Vodafone India Limited (collectively, the ‘IDOs’) and the Cellular Operators Association of India for the violation of sectio n 3 & section 4 of the Act, which states that there should not be any agreement which is likely to cause appreciable adverse effect on the competition within India & another which states that no enterprise or group shall abuse its dominant position respctively. 

HELD 

The SC did not grant leave to petitioners and upheld the decision of The High Court. The SC recognized that the TRAI is the sector-specific regulator and has the expertise to deal with the issues in the telecom sector, which arise from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. Further, the TRAI is empowered to look into the jurisdictional issue first and then if there are evidence to prove that the anti-competitive practice exists, the jurisdiction of the CCI can be enforced according to the relevant provisions of the Competition Act. Also if the TRAI takes an action against the anti-competitive practice of the parties, the decision would be limited to the applicability of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997. The SC further held that the CCI is delegated with an important role to curb anti-competitive practices in the relevant markets of India and this responsibility delegated to CCI should not be washed away completely and “the ‘comity’ between the CCI and T RAI is to be maintained”. Therefore, the jurisdiction of the CCI is not outset completely with regard to the telecom sector but the CCIs jurisdiction is pushed out to the later phase, once the issue is decided by the TRAI.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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