The Competition Commission of India is a statutory body constituted and established under Competition Act in the year 2007. The Commission was established to replace the Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission. The Commission was established to promote and sustain competition in the markets and to protect the interests of the consumers and ensure freedom of trade. The CCI has the duty to eliminate practices having an adverse effect on competition. The CCI has been vested with several powers to regulate competition in the markets.
POWER OF COMPETITION COMMISSION
The Competition Act, 2002 has empowered the CCI to inquire into the matters of anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominant position by the organizations in the market. The Commission has also been conferred with the power to impose penalties including the sentence of imprisonment along with a levying fine. Under the Act, the Commission has the following powers:
- Power to impose fine for violation of substantive provisions
The Commission has the power to direct the enterprise to modify the combination or to discontinue and not to re-enter any agreement or any action in abuse of dominant position that is in contravention of Section 3 of the act. The Commission may impose a penalty of not more than 10% of the average turnover made by that enterprise in the last three preceding financial years. To ensure that the enterprise does not abuse its dominant position, the Commission may direct the division of such enterprise.
2. Power to issue interim orders
The commission has the power to pass an interim order, during an inquiry, against an act that has been committed and continues to be committed if such act is in contravention with Section 3(1), or Section 4(1) or section 6 of the Competition Act. The Commission has the power to refrain any party from carrying out such activities and can pass interim orders even without issuing a notice to that party. The commission can also pass such an order if it is satisfied that any such act is about to be committed in near future.
3. Power to conduct inquiry and investigation
The Commission has the power to direct the Director-General to inquire and investigate into the matter that comes before. If after completion of the investigation, the commission believes that further investigation is required, it may order the DG to conduct further investigation or look into the matter on its own.
4. Power to impose fine for false or non-submission of information
The CCI has the power to impose a fine which may extend to Rs 1 crore for non-submission or –false furnishing of any information or document that is required to be submitted.
5. Power to impose fine for contravention
The Commission is conferred with the power to conduct an inquiry for non-compliance of its orders and it may impose a fine of extending to Rs 1 lakh/day for the period for which the non-compliance has occurred, subjected to a maximum of Rs 10 crore. Further, if a person fails to pay the fine, he may be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine extending to Rs 25 crores or both.
6. Power of a Civil Court
The Commission has been vested with the powers of a civil court. Under this, it has the power to summon any person and examine him in the oath, to order the production of required documents, to examine the witness, and to requisition any public document or copy of any document or record from any office.
The Commission may direct any person to produce any document or information to the Director-General related to any trade which may be required to be examined for the Act.
7. Power of regulating and execute its own orders
The Commission has the limited power to implement and execute its own orders. When CCI imposes a monetary penalty, it has the power to proceed and recover such penalty itself following the regulations.
During the era in which the economies are moving from closed economies to open economies, an effective competition commission is essential to ensure the continued viability of domestic industries, carefully balanced with attaining the benefits of foreign investment increased competition. TO ensure that the competition in the market is running efficiently and to regulate the market and to eliminate anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominant position, it is important to have a body like CCI.
By Pooja Jha