Continuing its slew of exemptions, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has exempted all public sector oil and gas companies (created under the Petroleum Act 1934) from pre-merger scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India under Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act 2002. The exemption – which will be valid for five years from the date of the official Gazette notification – also extends to all wholly or partly owned subsidiaries of such companies.
In 2017 the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found a prima facie case of abuse of a dominant position by the Haryana Urban Development Authority and sent the case to the director general for further investigation. Despite the Haryana Urban Development Authority Act and Regulations being the governing law in the case, the CCI opined that it would have jurisdiction to examine the matter in order to establish any anti-competitive conduct or practice under the Competition Act.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has re-imposed a penalty of Rs522.4 million on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for abuse of its dominant position in the market. The BCCI argued that it is a not-for-profit organisation established to promote cricket in India and does not engage in any kind of commercial activity with the aim of profiting. However, the CCI held that despite there being no profit motive, the BCCI should be considered an enterprise under the Competition Act.
The Competition Commission of India recently initiated an investigation into Star India Pvt Ltd for an alleged violation of the Competition Act 2002 following claims filed by a private multi-system operator (MSO) engaged in cable TV distribution in the state of Kerala. The claimant alleged that Star India had engaged in anti-competitive behaviour and abused its dominant position by charging excessive licence fees compared with the fees that it had charged the claimant's competitors and other Kerala MSOs.
The Competition Commission of India has directed the All India Film Employee Confederation and various regional associations to cease and desist anti-competitive conduct, including suspending work and boycotting film directors who engage artists from outside the associations. The order establishes the importance of maintaining competition in the marketplace even in matters concerning workers' rights, which are otherwise protected under the respective labour statutes.
The Competition Commission of India recently exonerated nine Research Designs and Standards Organisation-approved suppliers, including four sister companies, following allegations of bid rigging. The decision has further widened the scope of 'bid rigging' within company groups to include instances where subsets of bidders collude among themselves. However, in order to establish collusion between these subsets, the parties' intent and the outcome of their behaviour must also be established.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct under Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act against the Kerala Film Producers Association and the Film Distributors Association. The CCI found no sufficient material on record to suggest that the defendants had enforced a ban on the distribution of films to the claimant for exhibition in his theatres. Therefore, no violation of the act could be found to have occurred.
The Competition Commission of India recently imposed penalties totalling Rs62.7 million on three chemical companies for bid rigging and collusive bidding under the Competition Act. The order marks a significant positive development in regard to the concept of a 'single economic entity' in India, bringing practice in line with that of mature competition law jurisdictions.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct against Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and Royal Power Trunkey Implements Private Limited on the grounds that the claimant's grievance stemmed from the defendants' alleged non-adherence to tender conditions and circulars. Therefore, the CCI opined that no case regarding violation of the Competition Act had been made against the defendants.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed monetary penalties on the All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association and two of its district units, as well as their office bearers, for ordering pharmaceutical companies to obtain no objection notices (NOCs) before appointing new stockists. The CCI issued its first general direction and stern advisory to all pharmaceutical companies to cooperate in eradicating the practice of mandatory NOCs and report any such demand to the CCI.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently exposed a cartel of three top coal-liaisoning companies, holding that in respect of tenders floated for the award of coal-liaisoning contracts, the companies had violated the Competition Act. As the case fell within the category of hardcore cartels, the CCI imposed its highest recorded penalty based on the total profits earned by each company in respect of the tenders.
The Competition Commission of India recently imposed a penalty of approximately Rs1.4 billion (approximately $21 million) on Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for "online general web search and web search advertising services" in India. While the $21 million fine imposed may be small for the global technology giant, the ruling has raised hopes for Indian digital start-ups that are feeling the pressure of Google's dominance.
The Competition Commission of India recently imposed a penalty of almost Rs120 million on 10 transport companies for bid rigging in regard to coal and sand transportation tenders. It held that identical pricing despite different cost structures, last-minute filing of price bids and the existence of earlier financial dealings between the defendants constituted evidence of a clear understanding to fix prices, which should be treated ipso facto as having an adverse effect on competition.
The Competition Commission of India has dismissed claims against Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation for abuse of its dominant position in the market for the procurement of bus chassis in India on the grounds that it holds no dominant position. The court did not assess the claims of abuse after finding that the company has low shares in the market, which comprises numerous competing transport operators.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently held that nationalised banks are exempt from the applicability of the merger control regime under the Competition Act. The ministry issued a notification which stipulates that the government – in the interest of the public – will exempt all cases of reconstitution, transfer (wholly or in part) and amalgamation of nationalised banks from the application of Sections 5 and 6 of the act for 10 years.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently dismissed allegations of cartelisation against the Reserve Bank of India and 19 other banks. The claimant alleged that the banks, acting pursuant to a horizontal anti-competitive agreement, had assumed no liability for the loss of items kept by customers in their safety deposit locker facilities. However, the CCI found no evidence of cartelisation or any understanding, consensus or arrangement among the banks.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently issued a notification exempting regional rural banks (RRBs) from the applicability of the merger control regime in India. The notification provides that Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act 2002, which regulate combinations, will not apply to amalgamations of RRBs for which the government has issued a notification under the Regional Rural Banks Act 1976. This exemption is applicable for a five-year period.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently found the Container Trailer Owners Coordination Committee and its four participating associations guilty of anti-competitive conduct for imposing a turn system which had led to unilaterally fixed prices. However, the CCI held that certain mitigating circumstances existed in favour of the defendants and therefore imposed no penalty on them. Instead, it merely directed them to desist from indulging in such anti-competitive conduct in future.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently closed a case against OLA Cabs for the alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market for radio taxi services in Bengaluru. The CCI found that the company held no such position in the market and that competitors regularly engaged in practices such as below-cost pricing and offering loyalty discounts. Reluctant to intervene in a nascent market, the CCI exemplified the growing trend for economic analysis in decision making in India.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently dismissed claims against Sanofi India Limited for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market of drugs and pharmaceutical products. The CCI found that Sanofi enjoyed no dominant position and therefore held that there was no prima facie case to investigate its alleged conduct.