Date August 19, 2019
GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS TO INDIAN ANTI-TRUST LAW

The Indian Government had constituted the Competition Law Review Committee on 1 October 2018, with members from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India and headed by the Corporate Affairs Secretary (Committee). The Committee was tasked with reviewing the competition regulations and suggesting necessary changes to re-calibrate and strengthen the existing legal framework in order to promote best practices.

The Committee submitted its report to the Indian Finance Minister on 14 August 2019 (Report), recommending certain important amendments to the (Indian) Competition Act, 2002 and the key ones are:

  • Forming a “green channel” route for automatic approval of certain combinations, including those resulting from the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, thereby permitting consummation of the transaction after simple disclosure to the CCI. This recommendation is in recognition of the need to enable fast-tracked regulatory approvals for a majority of mergers and acquisitions that may have no major concern regarding appreciable adverse effects on the competition within India.
  • Introduction of additional thresholds to review combination of businesses which are not structured traditionally – especially in case of digital markets. The Committee has suggested that even if the traditional asset and turnover thresholds are not met, where the transaction value or the deal value of a combination exceeds certain limit, then it could be brought within the ambit of merger review.
  • Constitution of a dedicated bench of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to expeditiously hear and dispose competition appeals, which will help in easing the present capacity constraint experienced at the NCLAT vis-à-vis competition cases.
  • Introduction of provisions to identify “hub and spoke” agreements as well as agreements that do not fit within typical horizontal and vertical anti-competitive agreements, with an aim to widen the net for identification of anti-competitive conduct and covering varied business structures and models synonymous with new age markets.
  • Incorporation of additional enforcement mechanism of “settlement and commitment” which may be achieved outside of an otherwise lengthy enforcement process, with an aim to assist in swifter and speedier resolution of anti-competitive conduct matters.

The Report may be accessed at:

http://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/pdf/ReportCLRC_14082019.pdf