On April 3, 2023, the Rajya Sabha passed the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which proposes several changes to be made to the Competition Act, 2002.
The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 5, 2022, and was later referred to the Standing Committee which gave its report in December 2022. Based on the report, additional changes were made, and the Bill was again introduced in the Lok Sabha which passed the same on March 29, 2023.
Some of the key amendments include: –
- A notice has to be given to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) if the value of a transaction pertaining to a merger, acquisition or amalgamation exceeds Rs.2,000 Crore. As per the Act, the commission has to approve or give any other order or direction within 210 days from the date of the said notice. This time provided to the commission has been proposed to be reduced to 150 days under the Bill.
- According to the provisions of the Act, an agreement entered into between enterprises or persons engaged in identical or similar trade of goods or provision of services can be held to be an anti-competitive agreement. In this context, the Bill broadens the scope of anti-competitive agreements.
- Provisions regarding settlement, commitment and their revocation are proposed to be added to the Act vide insertion of Sections 48A, 48B and 48C. This step is expected to reduce litigations.
- The commission is empowered under the Bill to impose a lesser penalty upon producers, sellers, etc. included in the cartel who disclose vital information in cartel investigations.