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Confidentiality Rings: Proposed Timelines to Expedite Proceedings

To ensure timely and effective disposal of matters, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has proposed certain amendments as per which the request for setting up a confidentiality ring has to be made at the earliest. Any comments on the draft CCI (General) Amendment Regulations, 2024, have to be shared by March 27, 2024.

The provisions pertaining to confidentiality are contained in Regulation 35 of the 2009 Regulations. The said Regulation was amended in the year 2022, with CCI providing for the creation of confidentiality rings to enable parties to access the confidential information and documents of other parties, during proceedings before the Commission. The same was done through the CCI (General) Amendment Regulations, 2022, which were notified on March 8, 2022.

Under the draft amendment regulations, changes have been proposed to be made to Regulations 35, 37, and 50 of the 2009 Regulations. Accordingly, strict timelines have been recommended for making requests for setting up of confidentiality ring, filing undertakings for being part of the confidentiality ring, making applications for inspection, completing such inspection, etc. This was adjudged necessary in light of the delay in the proceedings caused by parties taking their time in complying with the requirements. The timelines prescribed under Regulation 35 can be extended by the CCI in exceptional cases.

Additionally, it is proposed that the undertakings submitted by parties for providing self-certification of confidentiality claims, under Regulation 35(2), and for safeguarding confidential information accessed, under Regulation 35(7), be provided in the form of affidavits.

Observing that the fee for inspection of records under Regulation 50(1) was last fixed in 2009, the same is sought to be revised from Rs.1,000 to Rs.2,500 per day per case.

 

Date: March 1, 2024