In December 2018 the division bench of the Delhi High Court reconfirmed an earlier decision and held that simultaneous inquiries could be undertaken into Monsanto and its directors and officers for their alleged violation of the Competition Act 2002. The court also clarified that under Section 27 of the act, penalties could be imposed on the individuals in question based on their Monsanto-derived income.
In December 2018 the Supreme Court finally ended the jurisdictional conflict between the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). By invoking the doctrine of harmonious construction, the court balanced the scales and gave the TRAI the power to first determine the rights and obligations of parties, after which – if the TRAI believes that anti-competitive activity has occurred – the CCI's jurisdiction can be invoked.
In November 2018 the Competition Commission of India disagreed with the director general's findings and dismissed allegations that GAIL (India) Ltd had imposed unfair and one-sided conditions in its gas supply agreements (GSAs) with seven other companies and thereby abused its dominant position as the sole supplier of regasified liquefied natural gas. The main allegations concerned the take-or-pay liability and letter of credit clauses in the GSAs, which were allegedly one-sided and biased.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations that the Retail and Dispensing Chemists Association limited and controlled the free supply of products by charging the manufacturers of pharmaceutical products for a product information service (PIS). In making its decision, the CCI relied on the order passed in Santuka Associates Pvt Ltd, which found that the decisive factor in determining whether the practice of issuing PIS charges is anti-competitive lies in the nature of the charges.
The Competition Commission of India has dismissed allegations that Flipkart India Private Limited and Flipkart Internet Private Limited abused their dominant position. Interestingly, although information was filed against the Flipkart entities, the commission held a preliminary conference with Amazon and concluded that no one player in the market could be said to have a dominant position at this stage of the market's evolution.
In November 2018 the Competition Commission of India (CCI) dismissed the allegations of cartelisation in the determination of flashlight prices against Eveready Industries India Limited, Panasonic Energy India Co Ltd, Indo National Ltd, Geep Industries (India) Pvt Ltd and the Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturers. Notably, the CCI exonerated the opposing parties despite the existence of two leniency applications.
In 2018 the Competition Commission of India (CCI) issued a notification which further amended the CCI (Procedure in Regard to the Transaction of Business Relating to Combinations) Regulations 2011. Following strong opposition from industry groups, the CCI has dropped a controversial amendment. This article highlights the notification's most important changes.
In October 2018 the Supreme Court issued a landmark judgment in which it upheld the appeals of 44 liquefied petroleum gas cylinder manufacturers and dismissed the earlier finding of bid rigging. In its decision, the court emphasised the need to evaluate the market structure and conditions before determining whether a cartel exists. This judgment signifies a new direction in case law and is likely to change the manner in which India's antitrust regulator evaluates evidence of cartels in future.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently imposed a penalty on Italian company Esaote SpA – a world leader in dedicated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – and its Indian subsidiary. According to the CCI's order, the Esaote group had abused its dominant position in the market through its sale of dedicated standing/tilting MRI machines to the informant. However, the CCI chair disagreed with the relevant market adopted by the majority of the commission.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently awarded Panasonic Energy India Co Ltd the first-ever 100% penalty reduction in a leniency decision. In making its decision, the CCI observed that the investigation had been initiated based on information provided by Panasonic and that its cooperation had been essential for establishing a contravention of the Competition Act. Thus, the information provided by Panasonic was deemed to have added significant value to the investigation.
In its third-ever leniency decision, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) granted a penalty reduction to four of the six leniency applicants. The allegations in the case concerned bid rigging in five tenders floated by the Pune Municipal Corporation in 2014 for the establishment of solid waste processing plants. The CCI found that all six of the opposing parties had participated in bid rigging or collusive bidding in contravention of the Competition Act.
The Supreme Court recently clarified that the determination of the relevant market is not a mandatory pre-condition for assessing an alleged violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act. In its application, the Competition Commission of India argued that the Supreme Court had previously given the impression that the relevant market must be determined in all cases concerning Section 3 of the act.
The Supreme Court recently set aside a National Company Law Tribunal order and restored the appeal which had been dismissed thereby. The appeal concerned a stay order which the Competition Commission of India had granted subject to the appellant paying a sum equal to 10% of the total penalty. In its landmark ruling, the court confirmed that the right to appeal envisioned by the Competition Act cannot be restricted by the requirement that a pre-deposit be paid.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently closed its investigation into the Kerala Cement Dealers' Association (KCDA) and Ramco Cements Ltd. The director general had initiated an investigation based on allegations that Ramco had been prevented from supplying cement after refusing to follow the KCDA's instructions to do so at an unfair price. However, the CCI held that the evidence collected by the director general was insufficient to prove a contravention of the Competition Act.
The Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has upheld the right of a person summoned by the director general to be accompanied and represented by counsel. However, the Competition Commission of India has raised concerns that permitting the active participation of counsel during depositions may not be conducive to the public interest at large.
The Competition Commission of India has launched an investigation under the Competition Act against Oil and Natural Gas Limited (ONGC) for abuse of its dominant position in the relevant market. The investigation stemmed from allegations made by the informant that ONGC had imposed one-sided and onerous terms in its charter hire agreements with suppliers of offshore support vehicles.
The Competition Commission of India has approved Bayer Aktiengesellschaft's proposed acquisition of Monsanto Company, subject to certain remedies. For example, the combined entity must give the government access to Indian agro-climatic data free of charge and cannot directly or indirectly impose commercial dealings capable of causing exclusivity in the sales channel for the supply of agricultural products.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has penalised South Asia LPG Company Ltd for abusing its dominant position on the market for upstream terminaling services at the Visakhapatnam port. The CCI held that SALPG had denied market access at the port to a private terminal operator. This landmark case is a good example of a dominant enterprise denying an essential facility to a competitor without any objective justification.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs223.6 million on Essel Shyam Communication Limited (ESCL) for bid rigging in tenders floated by sports broadcasters, including those for the 2012 Indian Premier League. The CCI ultimately reduced the fine imposed on ESCL and its officials under the leniency provisions contained in the Competition Act. This is the fourth order that the CCI has issued under these provisions.
By way of a 2018 order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected the director general's findings and closed the case against 37 signalling cable suppliers concerning allegations of bid rigging in eight tenders. The CCI's decision is significant, as although the bidders were found to have presented similar or identical bids, careful scrutiny showed that there was no evidence of any anti-competitive agreement or arrangement among the five subsets, nor any evidence to suggest tacit collusion.