“In recent times, there has been a serious debate about

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was set up to replace the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC). It was established to eliminate practices that adversely affect competition in different industries/areas and protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade. The Competition Act of 2002 called for the creation of CCI. However, it was established in 2003 and became fully functional only by 2009. The CCI is a quasi-judicial body.
Functions and roles of CCI
The functions performed by the CCI include:

  1. Playing the role of a market regulator for all sectors with focus on anti-competitive behavior of companies that may distort competition.
  2. To prohibit abuse of dominant position by enterprise or group.
  3. To regulate the combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and Merger and acquisition) that may cause or likely to cause adverse effect on competition within India.
  4. To create awareness and impart training on competition issues through advocacy.

However, The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has struck down several CCI orders mainly for violation of the principle of natural justice that provides everyone fair hearing before law. Currently, few orders issued by CCI are still pending before SC for final test.
There are also concerns regarding validity of CCI as it infringes upon the functional domain of RBI and SEBI.
The CCI has to streamline its processes to reduce the time taken to clear merger filings. Initially, it took less than 30 days, but because of the raising number of applications, the time period rose up to 60 days. Alongwith speed, quality also must maintained.
 The CCI is being seen as a hurdle in doing business in India. On this note, the CCI has to prove that its role is to promote fair competition in the market.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"In recent times, there has been a serious debate about the exact nature and objective of the Competition Commission of India as a quasi-judicial regulator." Discuss while throwing light upon functions and roles of CCI.

Published: March 2, 2016 | Modified:March 2, 2016

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