Competition & Antitrust, India updates

Supreme Court upholds CCI's interpretation of Section 4(2)(c) of Competition Act
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • August 16 2018

The Supreme Court recently set aside the Competition Appellate Tribunal's decision in which, while dismissing a Competition Commission of India (CCI) order, it had held that a denial of market access as envisaged under Section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act can be occasioned only to a competitor. While rejecting the narrow interpretation of Section 4(2)(c) of the act, the Supreme Court held that the CCI has a positive duty to eliminate all practices which adversely affect competition.

CCI imposes penalty on airlines for fixing fuel surcharge rates
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • August 09 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently imposed a cumulative penalty of approximately Rs540 million on Jet Airways (India) Ltd, InterGlobe Aviation Limited and SpiceJet Limited for fixing fuel surcharge (FSC) rates for cargo transport. The CCI reasoned that the increase in the FSC on the same or nearly the same day indicated that the airlines had an understanding.

Investigation into Honda for imposition of vertical restraints and abuse of dominance
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • August 02 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently directed the director general to investigate Honda Motorcycle and Scooter Private Ltd for allegations regarding the imposition of vertical restraints and abuse of its dominant position in the market for the manufacture and sale of scooters in India. The director general was directed to conduct a detailed investigation after the CCI arrived at a prima facie finding that some of Honda's activities had violated the Competition Act.

Government dilutes competitive neutrality: oil and gas companies exempt from CCI merger control
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • June 07 2018

Continuing its slew of exemptions, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has exempted all public sector oil and gas companies (created under the Petroleum Act 1934) from pre-merger scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India under Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act 2002. The exemption – which will be valid for five years from the date of the official Gazette notification – also extends to all wholly or partly owned subsidiaries of such companies.

CCI finds prima facie case of abuse of dominance by Haryana Urban Development Authority
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • May 31 2018

In 2017 the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found a prima facie case of abuse of a dominant position by the Haryana Urban Development Authority and sent the case to the director general for further investigation. Despite the Haryana Urban Development Authority Act and Regulations being the governing law in the case, the CCI opined that it would have jurisdiction to examine the matter in order to establish any anti-competitive conduct or practice under the Competition Act.

CCI re-imposes penalty of Rs522.4 million on BCCI for abuse of dominance
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • May 24 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has re-imposed a penalty of Rs522.4 million on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for abuse of its dominant position in the market. The BCCI argued that it is a not-for-profit organisation established to promote cricket in India and does not engage in any kind of commercial activity with the aim of profiting. However, the CCI held that despite there being no profit motive, the BCCI should be considered an enterprise under the Competition Act.

CCI to investigate Star India for alleged abuse of dominance and price discrimination
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • May 17 2018

The Competition Commission of India recently initiated an investigation into Star India Pvt Ltd for an alleged violation of the Competition Act 2002 following claims filed by a private multi-system operator (MSO) engaged in cable TV distribution in the state of Kerala. The claimant alleged that Star India had engaged in anti-competitive behaviour and abused its dominant position by charging excessive licence fees compared with the fees that it had charged the claimant's competitors and other Kerala MSOs.

CCI issues cease and desist order to Indian film associations following anti-competitive conduct
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • May 10 2018

The Competition Commission of India has directed the All India Film Employee Confederation and various regional associations to cease and desist anti-competitive conduct, including suspending work and boycotting film directors who engage artists from outside the associations. The order establishes the importance of maintaining competition in the marketplace even in matters concerning workers' rights, which are otherwise protected under the respective labour statutes.

CCI exonerates nine suppliers following allegations of bid rigging in railway tenders
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • May 03 2018

The Competition Commission of India recently exonerated nine Research Designs and Standards Organisation-approved suppliers, including four sister companies, following allegations of bid rigging. The decision has further widened the scope of 'bid rigging' within company groups to include instances where subsets of bidders collude among themselves. However, in order to establish collusion between these subsets, the parties' intent and the outcome of their behaviour must also be established.

CCI dismisses allegations of anti-competitive conduct against Kerala film associations
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • April 26 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct under Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act against the Kerala Film Producers Association and the Film Distributors Association. The CCI found no sufficient material on record to suggest that the defendants had enforced a ban on the distribution of films to the claimant for exhibition in his theatres. Therefore, no violation of the act could be found to have occurred.

CCI denies chemical companies' single-entity defence against collusive bidding
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • April 12 2018

The Competition Commission of India recently imposed penalties totalling Rs62.7 million on three chemical companies for bid rigging and collusive bidding under the Competition Act. The order marks a significant positive development in regard to the concept of a 'single economic entity' in India, bringing practice in line with that of mature competition law jurisdictions.

CCI dismisses allegations of anti-competitive conduct against industrial development companies
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • April 05 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct against Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and Royal Power Trunkey Implements Private Limited on the grounds that the claimant's grievance stemmed from the defendants' alleged non-adherence to tender conditions and circulars. Therefore, the CCI opined that no case regarding violation of the Competition Act had been made against the defendants.

CCI issues advisory to pharmaceutical companies while penalising All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • March 29 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed monetary penalties on the All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association and two of its district units, as well as their office bearers, for ordering pharmaceutical companies to obtain no objection notices (NOCs) before appointing new stockists. The CCI issued its first general direction and stern advisory to all pharmaceutical companies to cooperate in eradicating the practice of mandatory NOCs and report any such demand to the CCI.

CCI imposes highest recorded penalty based on profits of hardcore coal-liaisoning cartel
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • March 22 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently exposed a cartel of three top coal-liaisoning companies, holding that in respect of tenders floated for the award of coal-liaisoning contracts, the companies had violated the Competition Act. As the case fell within the category of hardcore cartels, the CCI imposed its highest recorded penalty based on the total profits earned by each company in respect of the tenders.

CCI imposes Rs1.4 billion penalty on Google for abuse of dominant position
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • March 15 2018

The Competition Commission of India recently imposed a penalty of approximately Rs1.4 billion (approximately $21 million) on Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for "online general web search and web search advertising services" in India. While the $21 million fine imposed may be small for the global technology giant, the ruling has raised hopes for Indian digital start-ups that are feeling the pressure of Google's dominance.

CCI imposes penalty for bid rigging in coal transportation auctions
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • February 08 2018

The Competition Commission of India recently imposed a penalty of almost Rs120 million on 10 transport companies for bid rigging in regard to coal and sand transportation tenders. It held that identical pricing despite different cost structures, last-minute filing of price bids and the existence of earlier financial dealings between the defendants constituted evidence of a clear understanding to fix prices, which should be treated ipso facto as having an adverse effect on competition.

CCI dismisses claims of abuse of dominant position against state transport company
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • February 01 2018

The Competition Commission of India has dismissed claims against Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation for abuse of its dominant position in the market for the procurement of bus chassis in India on the grounds that it holds no dominant position. The court did not assess the claims of abuse after finding that the company has low shares in the market, which comprises numerous competing transport operators.

Nationalised banks exempt from CCI merger approval
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • January 25 2018

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently held that nationalised banks are exempt from the applicability of the merger control regime under the Competition Act. The ministry issued a notification which stipulates that the government – in the interest of the public – will exempt all cases of reconstitution, transfer (wholly or in part) and amalgamation of nationalised banks from the application of Sections 5 and 6 of the act for 10 years.

CCI dismisses allegations of RBI cartel
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • January 18 2018

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently dismissed allegations of cartelisation against the Reserve Bank of India and 19 other banks. The claimant alleged that the banks, acting pursuant to a horizontal anti-competitive agreement, had assumed no liability for the loss of items kept by customers in their safety deposit locker facilities. However, the CCI found no evidence of cartelisation or any understanding, consensus or arrangement among the banks.

Regional rural bank mergers exempt from control provisions
Vaish Associates Advocates
  • India
  • January 11 2018

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently issued a notification exempting regional rural banks (RRBs) from the applicability of the merger control regime in India. The notification provides that Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act 2002, which regulate combinations, will not apply to amalgamations of RRBs for which the government has issued a notification under the Regional Rural Banks Act 1976. This exemption is applicable for a five-year period.

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