Competition Commission of India to issue order in the case against Coal India Limited shortly

Competition Commission of India (CCI) is expected to issue the order in the case against Coal India Limited shortly. This was stated by Mr. Ashok Chawla, Chairman, CCI during the deliberations of the 3rd meeting of the Eminent Persons Advisory Group (EPAG) in the capital today. Mr. Chawla also informed that the case in respect of the car manufacturers is also at a final stage.

The EPAG meeting was attended by Mr. Deepak S Parekh-Chairman HDFC, Shri V N Kaul-former CAG, Shri Gurcharan Das-Columnist & Writer, Dr. S L Rao-former Chairman, CERC, Ms. Rohini Nilekani-Social Activist, Dr. Bakul H Dholakia-former Director IIM (A), Ms. Rama Bijapurkar-Columnist & Writer.

Mr. Ashok Chawla, Chairman apprised EPAG about the activities undertaken by CCI since the last meeting in January, 2013. He informed that there has been a reasonable increase in the number of cases filed before CCI in the recent past. As against 47 cases in the first 7 months of calendar year 2012, 70 cases have been filed in the same period this year marking and increase of around 50 percent.

Mr. Gurcharan Das stressed on the need to reduce the paper work and ensure that CCI would facilitate adoption of Competition Compliance Practices by the Corporate Sector. Ms. Rama Bijapurkar highlighted the need for creating a frame work for defining unfair competition practices.

Mr. Deepak S Parekh brought to the notice of CCI the lack of clarity in the corporate sector on the applicability of Form I & II in merger cases. He wanted to know if the sequence of seeking approvals from different regulatory authorities such as SEBI, FIPB and CCI etc. was clearly defined and whether there was opportunity for corporates to have pre-merger consultation. Mr. Anurag Goel-Member, CCI informed that in most cases form I was applicable and out of the 120 applications under M&A Section, only 2 required Form II filing. He also said the law has not prescribed any sequence of regulatory approvals and informed the EPAG that corporates routinely held pre-merger consultation with officers of the CCI. .

Dr. S L Rao raised concerns about fixation of prices by the Government and was of the view that this led to distortion of competition. Dr. Bakul H Dholakia also expressed similar concerns saying that Administered Pricing Mechanism itself amounted to cartelization.

Mr. V N Kaul suggested CCI to find out if a mechanism regarding autonomous certification for Competition Compliance could be worked out. Ms. Rohini Nilekani advised CCI to check competition issues in unregulated areas such as sand mining. The Eminent Persons Advisory Group was set up by CCI in May, 2012 to give broad inputs and advice on larger issues impacting markets and competition, good international practices, improved advocacy etc. to the Commission. The earlier two meetings of EPAG were held on 23rd July, 2012 and 18th January, 2013.

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