In 1991, the New Economic Policy initiated liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation of the Indian economy. This gradual decentralisation increased the amount of space available for market forces to function while limiting the government’s influence in trade and other economic sectors. In some ways, the existing MRTP Act of 1969 was out of date, and new competition legislation was required, one that would foster competition rather than curtail monopolies in India. A high-level committee was set up near the end of 1999 to examine contemporary competition legislation that would take into account worldwide changes while also being suited to Indian needs. A suggestion was made to pass new competition legislation, the Competition Act, and to form the Competition Commission of India, as well as abolish the MRTP Act and disband the MRTP Commission. In addition, the research suggests that other government policy reforms be implemented as the framework for a new competition policy and law. The Competition Act went into effect in January of 2003. The CCI, which was also established in October of the same year, came next. In India, the Competition Commission is responsible for maintaining market freedom and removing anti-competitive conduct. The Commission is charged with fostering and sustaining competition, defending consumer interests, and assuring the aspirations of all participants, according to the Act.
EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENTS
Competition law was adopted by India earlier in 1969 through the MRTP Act 1969. The Bill was presented to Parliament in 1967, and a Joint Select Committee was formed to study the legislation.1 June 1970 marked the effective date of the MRTP Act, 1969. The MRTP Act, however, had to be replaced by the Competition Act of 2002 due to changes in business, markets, and economies throughout and outside India. Amendments to the MRTP Act of 1969 were enacted in 1974, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1991, based on the socioeconomic philosophy included in the Indian constitution’s guiding principles of state policy. The Sachar Committee, which was accepted by the Indian government in 1977 and chaired by Justice Rajinder Sachar, was in charge of recommending the revisions that were enacted in 1982 and 1984. Because advertising and sales promotion have become well-established strategies of modern business, it is critical that false statements in such commercials do not become prevalent, according to the Sachar Committee.
Nonetheless, changing times necessitated new competition legislation. With new economic policies and the opening up of the Indian market to the rest of the world, it became increasingly vital to focus on competition promotion rather than monopolisation control. Mr SVS Raghavan was named Head of the High-Level Committee set by the government of India in October 1999 to advise on competition legislation that is consistent with international developments and to suggest a legislative framework that may necessitate the passage of new legislation or the necessary amendments to the MRTP Act, 1969. The Raghavan Committee prepared and presented a draft competition law in November 2000 to the Government. The Parliament referred the law to its Standing Committee based on the Raghavan Committee recommendations. Parliament passed the Competition Act, 2002 in December 2002 after considering the recommendations of the Standing Committee. By virtue of the principles of the rule of law and precedents, the CCI will be constituted under the Competition Act of India. It has the same authorities as a civil court in terms of acquiring evidence.
PURPOSE OF THE COMPETITION LAW
The primary goal of competition law is to prevent firms and businesses from engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. So under the condition of an efficient competitive system, the full value of economic reforms is believed to be better realised. Consumer protection is another essential purpose of competition law. It has been observed that competition law objectives differ from nation to country they can alter and adapt in response to changes in the economy. The general notion is that competition policy is concerned with issues of competition and competitiveness, resulting in, among other things, goods and services being provided at competitive rates and consumers having a choice of items to purchase. Competition would also have broader applicability in terms of general economic governance and growth, as well as improved regional and global trade and development balances.
PROBE OF COMBINATIONS
The Competition Act defines a combination as a merger, acquisition, or amalgamation. Whether the proposed combination will adversely affect competition within India can be determined by the CCI by itself or by a Director-General. CCI will issue a show-cause notice to a combination if it is of the opinion that an AAEC is likely, and the parties will have 30 days to respond. The CCI can request a report from the Director-General upon receiving the reply to the show-cause notice. Within 7 days after receiving the parties’ response or the Director-report, General’s the CCI will direct the participants to disclose the contents of the combination. Written objections can be filed by entities or members of the public who are likely to be impacted or will be affected by a combination. After the deadline for registering objections from parties concerned or the general public has passed, the CCI may request more information from the parties to the combination.
MRTP Act had become outdated in the present time due to globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, and the country was experiencing an advanced period of globalization, liberalisation, and privatization. Due to this need, the new Competition Act was born to cope with the situation. The new competition act regulates the conduct and behaviour of the market players, which is much more effective than the MRTP Act, which is more procedure-oriented. Competitiveness is very important because it results in more choices for consumers. The benefits are several for businesses, including level playing fields, competitive input prices, and the ability to compete in global markets, as well as redress for anti-competitive practices. Additionally, the state gains as assets are optimally realized through the sale of assets and resources for the social sector are more readily available. Hence, competition law benefits all market players by providing them with a level playing field, which, in turn, benefits the economy as a whole.
Author(s) Name: SHASHWAT SINHA (KIIT SCHOOL OF LAW, BHUBANESWAR)