The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 11 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Fresh push for reforms
Focus on fair trade cop

New Delhi, Dec. 10: The government today introduced the Competition (Amendment) Act, which would give powers to the CCI chairperson to authorise search and seizures for investigations and decide on merger deals within 180 days.

Corporate affairs minister Sachin Pilot introduced the The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2012 in the Lok Sabha to amend the Competition Act 2002.

Once passed, the time period for the Competition Commission of India to decide on mergers would come down to 180 days from 210 days.

The amendments, approved by the cabinet in October, are aimed at fine-tuning the regulations to bring rules on a par with the prevailing scenario and in light of the experiences gained over the past years.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has the mandate to ensure that mergers and acquisitions do not lead to situations that affect competition.

The amended act would grant powers to the CCI chief to allow the director general (DG) to carry out search and seizure activities related to investigations. DG is the investigating arm of fair trade regulator CCI.

At present, CCI’s director general, upon authorisation by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, has the powers to carry out search and seizure in any investigation. This is under Section 41(3) of the Competition Act, 2002.

Other amendments include change in the definition of terms such as turnover and group in competition related matters.

Besides, a new Section 5A will be inserted into the Act. Under this section, notwithstanding anything in Section 5, the central government may, in consultation with the Commission, by notification, specify different values of assets and turnover for any class or classes of enterprise for the purpose of Section 5.” Section 5 relates to mergers of entities.

Under the proposed amendments, no sector would be exempted from the purview of the CCI.

There have been requests to exempt merger and acquisition deals in sectors such as banking and insurance from seeking approval from CCI.

The bill seeks to include all voluntary merger and acquisition (M&A) deals to come under the CCI’s jurisdiction. However, in deals involving ailing banks or insurers, the views of sectoral regulators (RBI and IRDA) would be taken into account.