Amendment to the Competition Act
New Delhi, India, May 17, 2006
CUTS organised the
third PARFORE meeting at the India International Centre, New
Delhi, to discuss pertinent aspects related to the proposed
Amendment to the Competition Act 2002.
At the meeting,
there was unanimity across various members on the need to avoid
a proliferation of Appellate Tribunals. They were of the view
that the Competition Appellate Tribunal should also be the
appellate tribunal for all sectoral regulators.
?There should be
only one Appellate Body covering all sector regulators instead
of a multiplicity of Sectoral Appellate Bodies to hear appeals
against the orders of their respective sectoral regulators?,
said Dr P C Alexander.
The meeting observed
that there has often been an overlap between the functions
performed by various regulatory agencies; hence setting up of an
appellate body for each regulatory agency can lead to forum
shopping in similar cases and possibility of divergent
The meeting also
felt that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) should
consist of a Chairperson and not more than six members as
proposed in the Amendment Bill. However, there should be a
provision for appointment of part time members, who could be
appointed due to their expertise on a case to case basis. The
members felt that since this practice was being followed in many
countries and also by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
(TRAI), it would enable expeditious disposal of cases in India
Stressing on the
responsibilities of the members of CCI, Sharad Joshi, said that
every Bill creates an authority but the final Act does not lay
down proper guidelines for carrying out the work. This should
not be repeated in the case of the Competition Amendment Bill
especially since part time professionals are not currently
envisaged. The work outline should be clearly defined and
allocated for speedier results.
There was a
consensus on the issue of reducing the age limit of Chairperson
and other members to less than 65 years. ?It has been observed
that most of the Authorities so created become parking slots for
retired bureaucrats. This should not happen in CCI. Hence, every
effort should be made to restrict the age limit to less than
65?, said Jayaben Thakkar, the BJP MP.
It was felt that
there was a need to overhaul the entire system of regulation.
The purpose of any Act is to protect the interest of the public
from economic monopoly and this must always be kept in mind
while formulating any law.
On the need to
improve the supervisory role of Parliament, the Forum was of the
view that a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Competition and
Regulation should be constituted. The Committee should call all
the regulatory authorities and CCI for a hearing and submit its
Report to the Parliament.
Among others, Suresh
Prabhu, Dinesh Trivedi, N N Krishandas and representatives from
consumer and civil society organisations (CSOs) were present in