Competition Law enforcement was introduced in India through the Competition Act, 2002. Major provisions of the said Act were notified over a period of time. Competition Advocacy was notified in 2003 whereas the provisions pertaining to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance were notified with effect from May 20, 2009. The said legislation became fully operational from June 1, 2011 when the provisions pertaining to merger regulations were notified. Furthermore, the said legislation provided for the establishment of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) [ the quasi judicial body established for the enforcement of competition law in India] and the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT). Both the CCI and CAT have commenced their activities and have in fact had a big impact in such a short time.
The Competition law in India has been inspired from the competition laws applicable in jurisdictions with long standing enforcement records, primarily the European Union. Various judgments of the General Court and Court of Justice in regard to European competition law cases have often been cited in various competition matters in India. The institutional structure as provided under the Competition Act, 2002 for the enforcement of the said law is on the lines of the structure followed by the European Union. Similarly to the European Commission, the Competition Commission of India is the investigator, the police, the prosecutor, the judge, jury & the executioner.
The Competition Act, 2002 deals with the following areas usually found in other competition law regimes as well:
- Prohibition of anti-competitive agreements;
- Prohibition of abuse of dominance;
- Merger regulation.
The aforesaid three areas of enforcement are the legs of the Competition Law tripod in India. The said areas shall be discussed in depth in the blogs to follow.