Regulation of anti Competitive Agreements in India

As India continues to grow economically, the need for competition is more important than ever. One of the ways to ensure that competition is maintained is through the regulation of anti-competitive agreements. This article will examine the current state of regulation of anti-competitive agreements in India, including its laws and enforcement mechanisms.

The Indian Competition Act of 2002 is the primary law governing anti-competitive agreements in India. This act prohibits agreements between companies that have the effect of reducing competition or controlling prices. Some examples of anti-competitive agreements include: agreements to fix prices, agreements to limit production, agreements to divide markets or customers, and agreements to control the supply chain.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the regulatory authority responsible for enforcing the Indian Competition Act. The CCI is empowered to investigate and prosecute anti-competitive agreements, issue cease and desist orders, and impose penalties on violators. The CCI can also initiate investigations on its own, or upon receiving complaints from other parties.

The CCI has been quite active in recent years with regard to anti-competitive agreements. It has investigated cases involving industries such as cement, automobiles, and telecom. In 2019, the CCI imposed a penalty of Rs. 200 crores on Maruti Suzuki India Limited for anti-competitive practices. Similarly, in 2020, the CCI imposed a penalty of Rs. 47 crores on Asian Paints for having a collusive agreement with dealers.

One of the challenges facing the CCI is the lack of awareness among companies about the Competition Act and its implications. Many companies are not aware of the provisions of the act and continue to engage in anti-competitive practices. The CCI has initiated various measures to increase awareness among companies about the act, including organizing workshops and seminars.

Another challenge facing the CCI is the delays in the investigation and adjudication process. Cases can drag on for years, with companies continuing to engage in anti-competitive practices during the pendency of the case. To address this, the CCI has introduced various measures to expedite the investigation and adjudication process, including the use of technology and outsourcing.

In conclusion, the Indian Competition Act and the CCI play a crucial role in regulating anti-competitive agreements in India. While there are challenges in the enforcement of the act, the CCI has made significant progress in recent years. It is important that companies are aware of the provisions of the act and comply with them to ensure a level playing field in the Indian market.