Competition Commission of India is a statutory body. It act as a regulator for competition in India. The Competition Commission was established in 2003 by Vajpayee government, under the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002.
The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, by the philosophy of modern competition laws. This led the establishment of Competition Appellant Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the CCI. However, the government replaced the Competition Appellate Tribunal with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.
Composition of CCI
The Commission shall consist of a chairperson, minimum 2 members and maximum 6 members. Further, it has reduced to three members and one chairperson by the Cabinet. This move was taken to produce a faster turnaround in hearings and speedier approval. It is a quasi-judicial body which gives opinions to statutory authorities and also deals with other cases. The Chairperson and other Members are to be whole-time Members.
Eligibility of members- The Chairperson and other Members shall be a person of ability, integrity and standing and who, has been, or is qualified to be a judge of a High Court, or, has special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, business, commerce, law, finance, accountancy, management, industry, public affairs, administration or in any other matter which, in the opinion of the Central Government, may be useful to the Commission.
Object and Functions of CCI
The preamble of the Commission focuses on the object of it i.e. the development of the economy and the country by avoiding unfair competition practices and promoting constructive competition.
The Commission performs the following functions-
- It ensures the benefit and welfare of the customers in the Indian Market.
- It accelerates inclusive economic growth through ensuring fair and healthy competition in the economic activities of the nation.
- It ensures the efficient utilization of the nation’s resources through the execution of competition policies.
- It also undertakes the competition advocacy.
- It also scrutinize any foreign company that enters the Indian market through a merger or acquisition to ensure that it abides by India’s competition laws – the Competition Act, 2002.
- It ensures interaction and cooperation with the other regulating authorities in the economy. This will ensure that the sectoral regulatory laws are agreeable with the competition laws.
- CCI also acts as a business facilitator, by ensuring that a few firms do not establish dominance in the market and that there is a peaceful co-existence between the small and the large enterprises.
Notable Cases by CCI
In June 2012, CCI imposed a fine of ₹63.07 billion (US$840 million) 11 cement companies for cartelization. Commission claimed that cement companies met regularly to fix prices, control market share and hold back supply, which earned them illegal profits.
In February 2013, Commission imposed a penalty of ₹522 million (US$6.9 million) on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for misusing its dominant position. It found that IPL team ownership agreements were unfair and discriminatory and that the terms of the IPL franchise agreements were loaded in favor of BCCI and franchises had no say in the terms of the contract. The Commission ordered BCCI to “cease and desist” from any practice in future denying market access to potential competitors and not use its regulatory powers in deciding matters relating to its commercial activities.
Further, In 2014, the CCI imposed a fine of ₹10 million upon Google for failure to comply with the directions given by the Director General seeking information and documents.
In November 2015, Commission have imposed a fine of ₹258 crores upon three airlines for cartelization in determining the fuel surcharge on air cargo.
In February 2018, CCI fined Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. for 135.86 crore rupees for ‘search bias’.
In December 2021, the commission took a step back from approving Amazon’s investment in a Future Group company, which had initially received its nod in November 2019. Amazon was blamed for concealing the scope and complete information of its investment while seeking for the approval.
In December 2021, CCI ordered an investigation into Apple Inc. business practices, including the company’s enforcement of a proprietary payment system, which is to be conducted within 60 days.
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