The Delhi High Court has rejected the ‘constitutionality’ challenge against Regulation 35 and the proviso to Regulation 37(1) of the Competition Commission of India (General) Regulations, 2009, as well as Regulation 6 of the Competition Commission of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009.
The contention put forth was that these regulations were arbitrary and in violation of Articles 14, 19(1) (a), 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution to the extent that they do not provide the information/documents in the possession of CCI and Director General to the parties to an inquiry and investigation to present their views and defend their position.
It was also contended that confidentiality under Regulation 35 and the proviso to Regulation 37 and Regulation 6 cannot override the mandate under Section 57, which mandates that information relating to any enterprise shall not disclosed without the previous permission in writing of the enterprise.
A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath held that the entitlement of a party to the proceedings to inspect the documents or to obtain copies of the same is not absolute and it is always open to the CCI to reject permission for inspection or furnishing copies, if it is of the view that the documents/information require confidential treatment.
“Such confidential treatment may be given by the CCI or DG, on being satisfied, to any other information or document or part thereof also in respect of which no request has been made by the informant or the party which has furnished such information or document,” the court said.
Read the Judgment here.