The draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 ("Bill") was released on 12 February 2020 suggesting a variety of amendments to the Competition Act, 2002 ("Act") after a gap of almost 13 years. The last major amendments to the Act took place in 2007. The Bill is largely based on a report dated July 2019 prepared by the Competition Law Review Committee ("CLRC") set up in October 2018 to review the Act and suggest changes to make the competition regime more effective.
While the original mandate of the CLRC was broad and envisaged a substantive review of the Act and the competition regime, a review of the amendments suggested in the Bill show that the amendments are limited to: a) correcting any blatant errors identified in practice; b) making explicit in the Act certain principles developed through decisional practice; and c) provisions to improve ease of doing business. The Bill proposes to insert a total of 12 new sections, omits 4 sub-sections and proposes amendments to several other sections.
In this paper, we review some of the welcome changes, certain changes which raise issues and challenges and certain missed opportunities in the Bill.
Issues and missed opportunities
Overall, many changes proposed in the Bill are welcome as they crystallise well settled principles into law. However, one retrograde step certainly appears to be the introduction of the Governing Board and the Bill appears to have missed a step in not introducing into the law the requirement of a judicial member.
(Avinash Amarnath is an Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court of India. Srishti Sharma is a 5th year law student at the Institute of Law, Nirma University. Views are personal)