How to file a complaint in competition commission of India
Author- Pallav vats, Geeta Institute of Law, Panipat.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. The following are the objectives of the Commission.
- To prevent practices from having an adverse effect on competition.
- To promote and sustain competition in markets.
- To protect the interests of consumers and
- To ensure freedom of trade
Consequent upon a challenge to certain provisions of the Act and the observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Act was amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007. The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 [MRTP Act] repealed and is replaced by the Competition Act, 2002, with effect from 01st September 2009
How a case proceeds in Competition Commission.
On filing a case
Any person can file an application or information before the Secretary of Commission. CCI has to judge if there is a prima facie case or not within 15 days. If CCI finds that there is a prima facie case, it has to form its opinion on the case within 60 days. However, in practice, it takes much longer.
On seeking evidence
At the prima facie stage, the CCI is not required to and generally does not ask for evidence from all parties involved. The CCI has the discretion to call or not call the opposite party for the prima facie hearing.
On informing the opposite party
Generally, the opposite party is informed of the case only when DG, during the course of its investigation, sends a notice to the party. CCI does not send the prima facie order to the opposite party.
On sharing DG’s report with opposite parties
In case the DG does not find a violation, the DG’s report is not shared with the parties. However, in case of violation by the opposite parties, once DG submits its report to the CCI, the Commission shares the report with the parties and objections to the DG’s report are invited.
After the objections to the DG’s report are filed by the parties, the CCI conducts oral hearings in the matter where the parties are allowed to make oral submissions before the CCI to support their case.
On-time was taken by DG to complete the investigation
When a case comes up for investigation, the DG is required to submit a report on his findings within a period of 60 days. However, the DG generally requests for several extensions before the investigation report is actually submitted to the CCI.
The DG generally takes 8-15 months to complete an investigation, depending on the complexity of the investigation and the number of parties involved and such extensions are usually necessary for a fair investigation to be undertaken.
On the process followed in merger cases
In mergers and acquisitions (combination) cases, on receipt of a notification form, the CCI is required to form a prima facie opinion within a period of 30 days. This is Phase I of the review process. If the CCI requires the parties to remove defects in the notification or to provide additional information, it “stops the clock” until the additional information is provided.
This means that it can take much longer than 30 days for the CCI to form such a prima facie opinion. To date, all combinations notified to the CCI have been cleared in Phase I of the review process.
If the CCI forms a prima facie opinion that a combination causes or is likely to cause an adverse effect on competition, a detailed investigation will follow which is called Phase II of investigation.
On whether CCI is bound by law to give final order within a certain time period
The Competition Act does not prescribe a maximum time limit for an investigation initiated – from the filing of the information to the final order, in respect of an anti-competitive agreement or an abuse of dominance.
Procedure for inquiry on complaints under section 19, Competition Act, 2002 :
On receipt of a complaint or a reference from the Central Government or a State Government or statutory authority or on its own knowledge or there exists a prima facie case, it shall direct the Director-General to cause an investigation to be made into the matter.
The Director-General shall, on receipt of the direction under sub-section (1), submit a report on his findings within such period as may be specified by the Commission.
Where on receipt of a complaint under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 19, the Commission is of the opinion that there exists no prima facie case, it shall dismiss the complaint and may pass such orders as it deems fit, including imposition o costs, if necessary.
The Commission shall forward a copy of the report referred to in sub-section (2) to the parties concerned or to the Central Government or the State Government or the statutory authority, as the case may be.
If the report of the Director-General relates to a complaint and such report recommends that there is no contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, the complainant shall be given an opportunity to rebut the findings of the Director-General.
If, after hearing the complainant, the Commission agrees with the recommendation of the Director-General, it shall dismiss the complaint.
If, after hearing the complainant, the Commission is of the opinion that further inquiry is called for, it shall direct the complainant to proceed with the complaint.
If the report of the Director-General relates on a reference made under sub-section (1) and such report recommends that there is no contravention of the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall invite comments of the Central Government or the State Government or the statutory authority, as the case may be, on such report and on receipt of such comments, the Commission shall return the reference if there is no prima facie case or proceed with the reference as a complaint if there is a prima facie case.
If the report of the Director-General referred to in sub-section (2) recommends that there is a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, and the Commission is of the opinion that further inquiry is called for, it shall inquire into such contravention in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
How to file a complaint with the Competition Commission
Filing the application
The application should be in the form of a statement of facts, containing details of the alleged contraventions of the Competition Act. The application should also have a complete list of all the documents presented in support of each of the alleged contraventions.
Whom to address and where to file
The information should be sent to the secretary of the Commission in person, or by registered post, or courier service, or facsimile, addressed as follows: The Secretary, Competition Commission of India, The Hindustan Times House, 18-20, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110 001 Tel: + 91 – 11 – 23704651 Fax: + 91 – 11 – 23704652 Provide your complete postal address with the PIN code, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address.
Further assistance: Helpline number of CCI: 011-24664333 (10:00 AM to 01:00 PM and 02:00 PM to 05:00 PM)
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