Competition Commission of India – Constitution, Power and Functions

By | April 23, 2018
CCI Powers and Functions

Competition Commission of India was formed under Section 7 of the Act by the Central Government after the verdict of Supreme Court in the case of Brahma Dutt vs. Union of India [AIR 2005 SC 730] where the Court held that for the purpose of regulatory and advisory functions relating to competition in market, Competition Commission of India be established and for the purpose of adjudicatory functions, Competition Appellate Tribunal be established.

Constitution

Section 8(1) of the Act provides that the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson and not less than two and not more than six other members to be appointed by the Central Government. The members will be handling the administration and Coordination division, Investigation division, Economic division, Combination division, Anti-trust Division and Legal division.

Section 8(2) of the Act further provides that the Chairperson and other members be a person of integrity, ability, and standing and who has been or is been qualifies to be a Judge of High Court or has special knowledge and professional experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, law, business, finance, accountancy, industry, public affairs, or in any other matter which is in the opinion of the Central Government, may be useful to the commission.

Section 10(1) of the Act provides that the Chairperson and other members shall be whole-time members and shall hold the office for a time period of 5 years and are eligible for re-appointment. No member can hold the office after he has attained the age of sixty-five years.

Resignation and Removal

Section 11(1) of the Act provides that the Chairperson or any other Member may resign from his office, by giving a notice to Central Government. However, the Chairperson cannot relinquish his office until the expiry of three months from the date of said notice or until the person appointed as his her successor enters upon his office.

Section 11(2) of the Act provides that the Central Government may remove the Chairperson or any other member from his office if he –

  1. Is, or at any time has been adjudged as an insolvent.
  2. Has at any time engaged in any paid employment during his term in office.
  3. Has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of Central Government, involves moral turpitude.
  4. Has acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a Member.
  5. Has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to public interest.
  6. Has become physically or mentally incapable of acting as a member.

Section 11(3) says that for the purpose of removal of Chairperson or any other Member due to reasons as mentioned in clauses d and e, an inquiry will be made by the Supreme Court and only on its recommendation that he ought to be removed on such ground or grounds, the removal will take place.

Powers and Functions of the Commission:

  1. To eliminate practices having an adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade by other participants.
  2. Inquire into certain agreements and dominant position of enterprise– It provides that the Commission may either suo moto or on receipt of any information of alleged contravention of Section 3 (prohibits anti-competitive agreements) may inquire into the same.
  3. Inquiry into the acquisition, control, and combinations– Section 20 of the Act entrusts the Commission with the power to inquire into any information relating to acquisition and determine whether such combination or acquisition may have an appreciable adverse effect on competition (AAEC).
  4. Power to regulate its own procedure – Section 36.
  5. Power to impose a monetary penalty – Section 39.
  6. Power to issue an interim order– Section 33 of the Act empowers the Commission to issue interim orders in cases of anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, thereby temporarily restraining any party from carrying on such an act.
  7. Competition Advocacy– Section 49 of the Act provides for competition advocacy and enumerates that the Central or the State Government may while formulating any policy on Competition or any other matter may make reference to the Commission for its opinion on the possible effect of such policy on Competition. However, the opinion given by the Commission is not binding on the Central Government.

Contributed By – Lakshay Anand

Sources:

  1. SCC Online
  2. T. Ramappa, Competition Law in India, Oxford Publication, 2013

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