The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has come out with draft regulations for providing the procedure for filing settlement applications and conducting settlement proceedings.
As per the draft regulations, an enterprise within the meaning of the Competition Act, 2002 may prefer a settlement application before the CCI for the settlement of proceedings initiated for alleged contravention of provisions pertaining to anti-competitive agreements under Section 3(4) and abuse of dominant position under Section 4 of the Act. The said application has to be accompanied by the payment of the prescribed fee. Further, the application has to be filed within 45 days of the receipt of the Director General’s report (on findings as per the investigation conducted by him) under Section 26(4).
Within 7 days of receipt of a settlement application that is in compliance with the settlement regulations, the same would be placed for consideration before the Commission at its ordinary meeting. If the applicant’s proposal is being considered, the Commission is required to invite objections and suggestions from concerned parties.
By issuing an order under Section 48A of the Act, the CCI may either reject the applicant’s proposal for settlement and continue with its inquiry under Section 26 of the Act or accept the proposal and close the proceedings against the applicant. Such an order will be final and binding on the settlement applicant.
In arriving at the settlement amount, the penalty guidelines have to be followed. Also, the draft regulations empower the CCI to reduce the settlement amount by up to 15% upon due consideration of the applicant’s proposal and cooperation, and the nature of disclosure made.
The Commission has invited comments from stakeholders on the draft regulations within 3 weeks, i.e., by September 13, 2023.