Indian Competition Law

Foreword Indian competition law: an overview of national case law

India is rather a new entrant in the field of competition and antitrust laws. The year 2022 marks two decades of enactment of the Indian Competition Act, 2002 (“ICA”). Enactment of the ICA in 2002 was a watershed in Indian regulatory regime. The ICA succeeded the archaic Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1965 (“MRTP”) which had outlived its relevance in a country where the economy was already on the path of liberalization and privatization since 1991. The ICA was a step towards modernization of the Indian law on regulation of competition in markets. This was in-line with the regulatory regimes prevalent in mature jurisdictions across the world. While the ICA was enacted in 2002, it was met with several legal and jurisdictional challenges before the constitutional courts of India, which delayed its enforcement. The behavioral provisions of the ICA were enforced on 20 May 2009 and the merger control provisions on 1 June 2011. The ICA is enforced by the nodal regulator established under the legislation, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”). The CCI since 2009 has completed investigations in over 600 behavioral cases and cleared over 900 combinations. This special issue commemorates two decades of the Indian competition law regime and highlights the recent key judicial and regulatory developments in India from 2020 and 2021.

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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)

General antitrust

The Indian and Japanese Competition Authorities sign a memorandum on cooperation against anticompetitive activities
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI and the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) (Competition Authorities) concluded a Memorandum on Cooperation on 6 August 2021. India and Japan had earlier entered into a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement which came into force on 1 August 2011, which included provisions that (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes draft amendments to the confidentiality regime and invites public comments
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI announced in April that it was in the process of reviewing and revising the confidentiality regime, based on its enforcement experience over the last 10 years. It published draft amendments to the relevant provisions in the General Regulations, and has invited public comments on these (...)

The Indian Government enacts the comprehensive Information Technology Rules providing governance structures for social media and related companies
Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (Ahmedabad)
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Auro University (Surat)
Introduction The Indian Government in February, 2021 enacted the comprehensive Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“Media Code”) providing governance structures for social media and related companies. It encompasses an embargo of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes a market study into the telecom sector, finding a shift to non-price-based competition, categorizing the sector as a two-sided market, and noting the sector’s distress due to increased debt burden
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
The Indian Telecom sector (‘Sector’) is the world’s second largest telecommunications market, both in terms of subscriber base (1.16 billion) and in terms of total internet users (743.19 million). Recently, on 22 January 2021, the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) released its key findings and (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes the key findings of its market study on the telecom sector
Khaitan (Mumbai)
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Khaitan (Mumbai)
Tring Tring! CCI calls in the market study on Indian telecom sector* On 22 January 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) published its market study on the Indian telecom sector (Market Study). Initiated by the CCI in January 2020 as part of its advocacy measures, the Market Study (...)

The BRICS Competition Authorities issue a statement on COVID-19
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Heads of the BRICS Competition Authorities of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa issued a Statement on COVID-19. The Authorities noted the significant impact of the pandemic on all aspects of global economic stability, especially in developing countries and recognised the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority holds a roundup covering the main developments of the past two months
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Indian Competition Law Roundup: April-May 2020* In this Roundup, we highlight the main developments in Indian competition law in April and May 2020. The COVID-19 Response The CCI is Open for Business As stated in our April update on ‘Indian Competition Law and COVID-19’, the Competition (...)

The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs invites public comments on proposed amendments to the Competition Bill
Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
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Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
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Chandhiok & Associates (New Delhi)
Ten years of enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) necessitated a re-look drawing “from past experience and to prepare for future challenges in the enforcement of competition law framework in India.” Recognising this, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) set up the Competition Law (...)

The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs notifies the draft Competition Bill 2020 which reflects the recommendations made by the Competition Law Review Committee
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Last week, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) notified the Draft Competition (Amendment) Bill 2020 (Draft Bill). The proposed changes reflect recommendations made by the Competition Law Review Committee (CLRC) in July 2019. Public comments may be made until 6 March 2020. The 49 page Draft (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes its market study on e-commerce in India focusing on the three broad categories of e-commerce in consumer goods, accommodation services and food services
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI published a report on its Market Study on E-Commerce in India. The Study focused on the three broad categories of e-commerce in consumer goods, accommodation services and food services. After giving an overview of trends in and features of e-commerce, the CCI identified and discussed (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes its market study on e-commerce platforms
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Bangalore)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
The growth of e-commerce and online marketplaces has had a significant impact on businesses and consumer behaviour. Competition authorities worldwide are increasingly focused on assessing competition concerns on online platforms, including United Kingdom (UK), Australia, the European Commission (...)

The Indian Competition Authority releases its market study on e-commerce
National Law University (Punjab)
Introduction In April 2019, the Competition Commission of India (“Commission”) had announced a market study into the functioning of ‘E-Commerce’ in India. The focus area of the study was to gather information relating to “trends, practices and issues” which are relevant to the fair and competitive (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Indian Competition Authority fines 7 advertising enterprises for bid rigging and geographical market allocation
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Actual participation in the tender is not a mandatory for a finding of bid rigging in terms of the Act. the absence of loss to the tendering authority due to alleged conduct does not rebut the presumption of an appreciable adverse e-ect on competition (“AAEC”). BRIEF FACTS The case (...)

The Indian Competition Authority reprimands the national poultry farmers’ association for price fixing, and issues a cease and desist order (T. R. Chandran / People for Animals / National Egg Co-ordination Committee)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS The knowledge among members that prices have to be followed strictly to avoid adverse action in itself creates an ecosystem where the requirement of strict adherence permeates to each nook and corner. BRIEF FACTS Two separate informations were filed by Mr. T. R. Chandran (“Mr. (...)

The Indian Competition Authority closes an investigation into possible cartelisation and bid rigging amongst road construction firms (Uttar Pradesh Road Construction Cartel)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere commonality of ownership of participating firms is not sucient to conclude bid rigging in the absence of any material indicating collusion. BRIEF FACTS Based on an audit report by Comptroller and Auditor General (“CAG”) on construction management in road works in Uttar Pradesh (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines a leading automobile manufacturer €26 million for its discount control policies (Maruti Suzuki India)
Khaitan (New Delhi)
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Khaitan (New Delhi)
On 23 August 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) liable for adversely impacting competition in the passenger vehicles segment. The finding marks the conclusion of a two-year-long antitrust probe into MSIL’s implementation of a “discount control (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of bid rigging in the market for stevedoring contractors in Paradip Port (Steel Authority of India / Paradip Port / Mahimanand Mishra)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) dismissed allegations by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Paradip Port Trust (PPT) that some stevedoring contractors in Paradip Port had engaged in cartelisation in bidding for stevedoring contracts. According to the CCI, the first (...)

The Indian Karnataka High Court dismisses petitions by 2 major online retailers challenging the probe ordered by the Competition Authority against them for alleged violations of Competition Law (Amazon / Flipkart)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Amazon and Flipkart lose (first) battle against Antitrust probe -Karnataka High Court dismisses the writ petition against CCI prima facie order* So, is it the beginning of the end of the Amazon (and Flipkart’s) combined market dominance or, at least, their allegedly vertical anti-competitive (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects allegations that several domestic airlines had colluded to raise prices (Shikha Roy / Jet Airways)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected allegations that a number of domestic airlines had colluded to raise prices during the period of Jat agitation in February 2016. Following the conclusions of the investigating Director General (DG), the CCI found there was no evidence of a (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into potential anti-competitive conduct by a company engaged in the manufacturing and sale of commercial vehicles (Tata Motors)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Even if there is a delay in the filing of information on behalf of the informants, the Act does not envisage any period of limitation as inquiries conducted by CCI are proceedings in rem. There can be no limitation period in competition law as in a changing and evolving market (...)

The Indian Gujarat High Court grants a stay on the Competition Authority’s interim order to re-list the properties of two hotel companies on several online hotel booking portals (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI issued an interim order under Section 33 of the Competition Act directing MakeMy Trip India Pvt. Ltd. (MMT) and Ibibo Group Private Limited (Go-Ibibo) (together MMT-Go) to re-list properties of FabHotels and Treebo on their online hotel booking portals. This order was passed in the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of cartelization within a professional association in the corrugated box manufacturing industry (Gujarat Paper Mills Association / Indian Corrugated Case Manufacturers’ Association)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS A no presumption of appreciable adverse effect on competition (“AAEC”) cannot arise without first establishing the existence of an agreement in terms of the provisions Act. BRIEF FACTS An information was filed before CCI by the Gujarat Paper Mills Associations (“GPMA / Informant”), (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses at prima facie stage a kraft paper cartel allegation affecting the supply and pricing of kraft paper (Gujarat Paper Mills Association / Indian Corrugated Case Manufacturers’ Association)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI dismissed, at prima facie stage, a complaint by the Gujarat Paper Mills Association (Informant) that certain corrugated case manufacturers’ associations (OPs) had engaged in a cartel seeking to affect the supply and pricing of kraft paper. The Informant had alleged that the OPs had (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds evidence of and imposes a fine for bid-rigging by three sewing machine suppliers in public procurement for Picofall-cum-Sewing Machines (Klassy Computers / Nayan Agencies / Jawahar Brothers)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS (i) Although CCI and the DG have the powers to investigate the representatives of the tenderer/procurer to understand and ascertain the tender design, tendering mechanism including the eligibility of the bidders in terms of tender conditions by requisitioning the relevant records. (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines three suppliers of sewing machines engaged in bid-rigging (Klassy Computers / Nayan Agencies / Jawahar Brothers)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) found that three suppliers of sewing machines had engaged in bid-rigging in respect of a tender floated by the Pune Zilla Parishad for the supply of sewing machines to be distributed to backward classes, women, and disabled persons living in rural areas (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants an interim order against online travel agencies alleged to have engaged in anti-competitive practices (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
1. Introduction On 9th March 2021, India’s fair trade regulator, the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) granted Interim Relief to the parties seeking it, Treebo and FabHotels. They had been delisted from the platform of India’s most popular Online Travel Agency (‘OTA’), MakeMyTrip (‘MMT-Go’). (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines a national publishing association for restricting its members’ maximum discounts and participation in procurement advertisements (Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Associations in India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS The practice of restricting the maximum discount and issuing advisories for members to not participate in certain procurement advertisements amounts to anti-competitive conduct, especially if coercive action is taken by the governing body to ensure adherence by its members. BRIEF (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds no proof of a cartel to fix ticket prices among five airline companies (Jet Airways / Indigo / Spice Jet / Go Air / Air India)
SpiceJet (Gurgaon)
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University of Leiden - Europa Institute (Leiden)
I. Introduction The Aviation sector has faced an unprecedented crisis situation due to the havoc wrecked by the COVID-19. In 2020, ICAO estimated an “overall reduction of 2,699 million passengers and approx. USD 371 billion loss of gross passenger operating revenues” in comparison to the level (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders closure of an investigation into the alleged cartelization in the airlines industry because the observed price parallelism was not proven to have occurred through cartelization (Jet Airways / Indigo / Spice Jet / Go Air / Air India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere price parallelism does not amount to cartelization, if: (i) the market prices have fluctuated, at times with significant margins, (ii) new players are easily able to establish themselves; (iii) all players offer more or less similar kinds of services, and (iv) the prices depend (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds upon further investigation no evidence of bid-rigging in tenders submitted to the Government Department of Printing for the services of printing, packing and dispatch of confidential documents (Chandraprabhu / Saraswati Offset Printers / United India Tradex)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS (i) The mere fact that participants to a tender have common directors/shareholders is not sufficient evidence to return a finding that the parties are engaging in bid-rigging. (ii) Commercial transactions between related parties, such as sale/purchase of goods and loan exchanges, (...)

The Indian Competition Authority holds that the national statutory body in charge of carrying out regulatory functions in respect of the legal profession as well as legal education is not an ‘enterprise’ within the definition of the competition law (Bar Council of India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS An entity falls within the definition of the term ‘enterprise’ only if it is engaged in any economic and commercial activity specified within Section 2 (h) of the Act. BRIEF FACTS An information was filed before CCI alleging contravention of the provisions of Section 4 of the Act by (...)

The Indian Supreme Court dismisses the Competition Authority’s special leave petition against the Karnataka High Court’s stay on investigations against two online shopping platforms for alleged anticompetitive conduct in the mobile phone market (Amazon / Flipkart)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on October 26, 2020 rejected the CCI’s challenge to the Karnataka HC’s stay on the investigations directed by the CCI against Amazon and Flipkart. In January, 2020, the CCI has ordered investigation into allegation of, inter alia, exclusive arrangements, (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses cartel allegations against 19 importers of phenol on account of absent conclusive evidence to establish collusion (Sachin Chemicals / Deepak Phenolics / Chokshi Chem / Chemtrade Overseas / Yug...)
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) dismissed allegations of cartelization against 19 importers of phenol, on account of absence of conclusive evidence to establish collusion. The CCI held that mere price parallelism does not amount to cartelisation and closed the case. Significantly, the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation into two major e-commerce platforms for alleged vertical agreements in the sale of smartphones (Amazon / Cloudtail India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
Looking into the alleged violation of Competition Act based on four alleged practices, namely, exclusive launch of mobile phones, preferred sellers on the marketplaces, deep discounting and preferential listing/promotion of private labels, being followed by two major e-commerce platforms, the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of anticompetitive conduct and abuse of dominance against an information technology company in public procurement by the Ministry of Railways due to lack of evidence (Sowil / Hexagon Geosystems India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS In the absence of any material on record which can suggest collusion, no case of anti-competitive agreement can be made out. In addition, for a case of abuse of dominance, one must take into consideration the market structure and the number of major players including, global players (...)

The Indian Government allows the Tax Department to share information with the Competition Authority, which proceeded to give leniency to two companies involved in cartel cases in the transport sector during the COVID-19 pandemic (Automotive Bearing / Railway Locomotive) Free
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
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National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
CCI joins forces with the Indian Tax Department: A new dawn for the Indian Fair-trade regulator?* The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the already struggling Indian economy and the sky-high growth in the cartel cases in the country comes as no surprise. However, given the current (...)

The Indian Competition Authority refuses to penalize railway companies for bid-rigging due to economic downturn caused by COVID-19 (Chief Materials Manager, South Eastern Railway / Hindustan Composites) Free
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS While the CCI found sufficient evidence to hold that there existed a contravention of Section 3(3) of the Act, given the economic downturn due to the pandemic faced by Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (“MSMEs”) in India, and other public interest considerations, the CCI imposed no (...)

The Indian Competition Authority identifies cartels but does not impose any penalty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic (Chief Materials Manager, South Eastern Railway / Hindustan Composites) Free
Nirma University (Ahmedabad)
The Indian antitrust watchdog has changed its modus operandi in the ensuing pandemic, by taking a softer stance on cartel-like behaviour in the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. In July 2020, the Competition Commission of India (‘Commission’), while proving the existence of a (...)

The Indian Competition Authority refrains from imposing fines and imposes a cease and desist order on multiple rail companies guilty for cartelization but avoids fining due to companies’ size and the economic impact of COVID-19 (Chief Materials Manager, South Eastern Railway / Hindustan Composites) Free
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Following references by procurement officials of a number of railway companies, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found that 10 suppliers of composite brake blocks had, at least from 2009 to 2017, engaged in cartelization, by means of directly or indirectly determining prices, (...)

The Indian Competition Authority issues for the second time in a cartelization case a cease and desist order with no penalty against 10 suppliers of brake blocks for alleged bid-rigging (Chief Materials Manager, South Eastern Railway / Hindustan Composites) Free
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Two of the final orders recently pronounced by the CCI finding parties in violation of the cartel and bid-rigging provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”) have come as a surprise to many. While the CCI found clinching evidence regarding the existence of an agreement to cartelize and rig (...)

The Indian Competition Authority reaffirms that prescribing eligibility criteria in tenders is not anticompetitive (Sandeep Mishra / National Highways Authority of India)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
In dismissing a complaint at prima facie stage against the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), [1] the CCI reaffirmed that the prescription of eligibility criteria by a procurer/buyer of a product or service will not, unless demonstrably unfair or discriminatory, be regarded as (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves a deal between an online platform and a telecom network provider aiming at providing local grocery stores access to e-commerce services (Facebook / JIO Platforms)
Saikrishna (New Delhi)
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National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
Background The Indian antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) approved the popular Facebook-JIO deal (‘the deal’) on June 25, 2020. The approval came two months after Facebook announced to invest whopping $5.7 billion in Reliance Industries Limited’s (‘RIL’) subsidiary JIO (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds four automotive and industrial bearing companies liable for price-fixing and issues a cease and desist against collusive behaviour (Schaeffler / SKF / NEI / Tata)
Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
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Trilegal (Mumbai)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently found National Engineering Industries Ltd. (NEI), Schaeffler India Ltd. (Schaeffler), SKF India Ltd. (SKF) and Tata Steel Ltd., Bearing Division (Tata) (collectively, OPs) to have collusively fixed the prices of automotive and industrial (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal clarifies the emerging jurisprudence on hub-and-spoke cartels and standing requirements in a case concerning two ride-hailing platforms in the automobile services market for fixing cab fares through their apps (Uber / Ola)
Khaitan (New Delhi)
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Khaitan (New Delhi)
In a relief to the multinational giant, Uber, and home-grown Ola (collectively, Ride-hailing Platforms), the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) – India’s appeal tribunal for competition matters – dismissed an appeal filed by Samir Agrawal (Informant). In doing so, the NCLAT has upheld (...)

The Indian Competition Appellate Tribunal gives a decisive ruling for appeals of orders of the Indian Competition Authority (Maj. Pankaj Rai)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
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Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in New Delhi, India’s appellate tribunal for competition matters has given a decisive ruling for appeals of orders of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). In Maj. Pankaj Rai v Secretary, Competition Commission of India decided in May, (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s orders against 2 movie associations for concerted efforts to stop a competing association from working in the Malayalam film industry (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists / Federation of Kerala / Malayalam Artists and Cine Technicians Association)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Key points While there was no explicit agreement produced before CCI showing concerted actions by AMMA and FEFKA to ban Malayalam Artists and Cine Technicians Association’ (“MACTA”) Federation, the CCI relied upon documents, witness-statements and market analysis to show that AMMA and FEFKA had (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rules that the conduct of a bidder who hires proxy bidders is not anti-competitive (Plasser / Harbour Sales)
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
Recently, Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the case of Plasser India v. Harbour Sales Private Limited., (Plasser India case) decided that a mere possibility of potential collusion based on common ownership of agents in a bid does not show anti-competitive conduct thereby not leading to (...)

The Indian Competition Authority investigates allegations of anti-competitive agreements between e-commerce marketplaces (Amazon / Flipkart)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has directed an investigation into allegations of anti-competitive agreements between e-commerce marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart, on the one hand, and sellers on these marketplaces, on the other. A Delhi based traders’ body alleged that Amazon and (...)

Unilateral Practices

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation into abuse of dominance by a national broadcasting company through discriminatory discounts (Asianet Digital Network / Star India Private / Disney Broadcasting India / Asianet Star Communications)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
BRIEF FACTS: An information was filed by Asianet Digital Network (P) Ltd. (“Asianet”) against Star India (P) Ltd. (“Star”), Disney Broadcasting (India) Limited (“Disney”) and Asianet Star Communications Private Limited (“ASC”) alleging abuse of dominance. Asianet, is a multi-system operator engaged in (...)

The Indian Competition Authority issues a cease and desist order against a limestone logistics company for anti-competitive price determination, limitation and control of supply (CJ Darcl Logistics / Dumper Truck Union)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
BRIEF FACTS: An information was filed by CJ Darcl Logistics Ltd. (“CJD”) against Dumper and Dumper Truck Union Lime Stone (“DTU”) and All Members of Dumper and Dumper Truck Union Lime Stone (“AMDTU”), collectively (“OPs”) for restrictions imposed by DTU and its members by not letting CJD, a logistics (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation into a Big Tech firm for allegedly abusing its dominant position by forcing certain practices on digital publishers (Google / Digital News Publishers Association)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role played by news media cannot be undermined, and it needs to be ensured that digital gatekeeper firms, such as Google, do not abuse their dominant position to harm the competitive process of determining a fair distribution of revenue (...)

The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation into a mining company for alleged abuse of dominance by excessive pricing (Kalpit Sultania / IREL)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS The thrust of the definition of the term ‘enterprise’ under the Act is on the economic nature of the activities discharged by the entity concerned. BRIEF FACTS An information was filed by Mr. Kalpit Sultania (“Informant”) against IREL (India) Ltd. (“IREL/OP”) alleging abuse of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority initiates probe into a Big Tech firm for potential abuse of dominance in the app store market (Apple / Together We Fight Society)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Unlike traditional ‘single-brand’ markets or aftermarkets, the present digital ecosystems including app stores operate as a platform connecting two or multiple different sets of market participants, such as, app developers and users. The multisided nature of this market needs to be (...)

The Indian Competition Authority closes an investigation into a chip manufacturer for allegedly abusively refusing to share product design information with a business partner (Velankani Electronics / Intel)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
BRIEF FACTS Velankani Electronics Pvt. Ltd. (“Velankani/Informant”), a company engaged in the business of designing and manufacturing electronic products in India, including ‘servers’, filed an information against Intel Corporation (“Intel/OP”) alleging abuse of dominant position. Velankani, for the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority closes a case against a taxi-aggregator finding no abuse of dominance in the market for radio taxi services in Delhi-NCR (Meru Travel Solutions / Uber India)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI closed a case against taxi-aggregator Uber, rejecting arguments by Meru Travel Solutions (Meru) that Uber had abused its dominant position under Section 4 of the Competition Act by resorting to predatory pricing and that exclusivity agreements with its driver partners had an appreciable (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses arguments against the national stock exchange for abuse of dominance by introducing co-location services and by giving unfair preferential access to some trading members of its co-location services (National Stock Exchange)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI dismissed at prima facie stage arguments that the National Stock Exchange (NSE) had abused its dominant position by introducing co-location services and by giving unfair preferential access to some trading members of its co-location services. Co-location refers to the renting of space (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation against a Big Tech company for imposing restrictive obligations on smart TV original equipment manufacturers (Google / Xiaomi / TCL)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI directed an investigation against Google for alleged abuses in relation to its TV operating system, Android TV OS. The two Informants in the case alleged that Google had imposed restrictive obligations on smart TV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in breach of Section 4 of the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a Big Tech company for abusing its dominance in the market of smart TV operating systems and market for related mobile apps (Google / Xiaomi / TCL)
National Law University Odisha (Cuttack)
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National Law University Odisha (Cuttack)
In its order dated 22nd June 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) directed an investigation against Google after being prima facie convinced of it abusing its dominance in the market of licensable smart TV device operating systems (OS) as well as the market for app store for Android (...)

The Indian Competition Authority launches an investigation against a baseball federation and grants a rare interim injunction against the federation restraining its members’ participation in "not recognized" sports events (Confederation of Professional Baseball Softball Clubs / Amateur Baseball Federation of India)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI considered at prima facie stage allegations by the Confederation of Professional Baseball Softball Clubs (CPBSC) that the Amateur Baseball Federation of India (ABFI) had abused its dominant position by prohibiting State Baseball Associations from dealing with bodies and leagues not (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects the allegations of abuse of dominance made against sports federations (Volleyball Federation of India / Baseline)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI considered allegations made by a number of volleyball players registered with the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) that the VFI, together with Baseline Ventures (India) Private Limited (Baseline), had acted in breach of the Competition Act. The Informants alleged that the VFI, in (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a complaint against two regional development authorities and clarifies that a statutory body exercising economic functions cannot be guilty of abuse of dominance for policy-making decisions which apply equally to all market participants (Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority / New Okhla Industrial Development Authority)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS A statutory body exercising economic functions can not be said to have abused its dominant position in a particular relevant market for any decisions taken as part of the policy-making process, which apply equally to all market participants. BRIEF FACTS Three separate informations (...)

The Delhi High Court upholds the Competition Authority’s order directing an investigation into the privacy policy rolled out by a Big Tech company (WhatsApp)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere pendency of some issues before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”), or any of the High Courts does not necessarily bar CCI from exercising jurisdiction otherwise vested with it under the Act. BRIEF FACTS Whatsapp LLC (“WhatsApp”) is the proprietor of the popular (...)

The Delhi High Court reviews the Competition Authority’s inquiry into a Big Tech company’s data privacy policy (WhatsApp)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Delhi High Court Judgement on CCI Inquiry into WhatsApp’s new data privacy policy in India* While reporting on the initial media news in my earlier blog on the same topic published on 23 April 21 , I had promised to come back with a detailed reporting on the above judgment which was then not (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds that several exclusive wholesalers of country liquor did not discriminate against the suing distillery (Starlight Bruchem / Flora and Fauna Housing Land Developments / ... )
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
In the latest of a line of cases involving the liquor sector, the CCI found that a number of exclusive licensees for the wholesale trade in country liquor in the state of Uttar Pradesh had not abused their dominant position in failing to source liquor from the Informant, Starlight Bruchem Ltd. (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses antitrust complaint against a paint manufacturer because simply filing a criminal complaint against its competitor is not considered abuse of dominance (Asian Paints)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Filing a criminal complaint against another enterprise in the same sector cannot be said to have been done with a view to oust competition from the relevant market in the absence of any additional evidence to indicate contraventions of Section 3 and/or 4 of the Act. BRIEF FACTS (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects allegations regarding an abuse of a dominant position in the provision of coal terminal services (Tamil Nadu Power Producer Association / Chettinad International Coal Terminal)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
After a lengthy investigation, which started in January 2016, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected allegations by the Tamil Nadu Power Producer Association that Chettinad International Coal Terminal Pvt. Ltd. (CICTPL) had abused its dominant position in the provision of coal (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses complaints against the State of Tamil Nadu’s road department on an alleged anticompetitive tender process because sufficient bids were received and the procurement process was found to benefit both the procurer and the public (Trichy Superintendent Engineer of Highways Department)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS The consumer, based on his requirements / commercial considerations, has the freedom to specify and choose the kind of service, machineries, timelines, mode, and the manner in which it requires the same, provided that no provision of the Act is violated. The public procurement (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds an abuse of dominance in the market for wholesale procurement of branded alcoholic beverages within the State of Uttarakhand (International Spirits and Wines Association of India / Uttarakhand Agricultural Produce Marketing Board)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Cutting off supply/distribution of particular brands, thereby allowing market access to only a dominant entity leads to abuse of its dominant position by such entity. An effective push to competition happens when the efficiency of slower-moving products is enhanced such that a (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds an abuse of dominance in the market for wholesale procurement of branded alcoholic beverages (International Spirits and Wines Association of India / Uttarakhand Agricultural Produce Marketing Board)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI held that the Uttarakhand Agricultural Product Marketing Board (the Board) had abused its dominant position in the market for the wholesale procurement of branded alcoholic beverages in the State of Uttarakhand. The International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) had argued (...)

The Indian Competition Authority initiates an investigation into a Big Tech company’s new privacy policy and user agreement that does not let users opt out (WhatsApp)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS CCI is empowered to initiate an investigation into any conduct which may contravene the provisions of the Act if the CCI knows that such conduct is about to be committed. The CCI is obligated to prevent practices from having an adverse effect on competition. BRIEF FACTS CCI (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants interim relief to hotel franchisees in the online travel agency market (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Khaitan (New Delhi)
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Khaitan (New Delhi)
Although India’s competition law has contained an interim measure provision since inception, two things stood about the Competition Commission’s (“Commission”) usage of interim measures – (i) the overall frequency (or lack) of its usage; and (ii) its limited usage in a low shelf-life Bollywood (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants interim relief, ordering online travel agencies to re-list hotel properties on certain platforms (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS (i) In deciding applications for interim relief under Section 33 of the Act, CCI must form a higher degree of satisfaction than the prima facie requirements under Section 26(1) of the Act. (ii) Denial of market access need not be complete or absolute in nature to result in an (...)

The Indian Competition Authority issues an interim behavioral remedy to relist franchise hotel properties on certain platforms before concluding the abuse of dominant position investigation against them (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
CUTS Institute of Regulation & Competition (New Delhi)
In a first-of-its-kind order, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has used its power to grant interim relief to applicants in a two-sided digital market. On 9 th March 2021, CCI ordered MMT-Go to relist properties of Treebo and FabHotels on its platform. CCI received information against (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance by a Delhi based mall developer for absence of dominance in the relevant market (Buildwell / Classic Care Utilities)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS An inquiry into whether certain practices by a firm amount to abuse is not required to be undertaken when the concerned firm does not hold a dominant position in the relevant market by virtue of there being other prominent firms within the relevant market that provide the same (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a leveraging of dominance allegation against a Big Tech company’s direct messaging and video-conferencing app due to emailing and direct messaging not being part of the same relevant market (Google Meet)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI dismisses allegation of leveraging of dominance for Google Meet Application* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) vide its order dated 29 January 2021 has dismissed an apparently speculative and mischievous information filed by a law student against Google’s alleged leverage of its (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against a Big Tech company for integrating a video calling app into its email app, because email users were not forced to use the video app (Google Meet)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Merely adding more functionality to an internet-based app in the name of product improvement and enhancing benefit to consumers would not amount to leveraging dominance if the users are not compelled to utilize the new features to the exclusion of all other services offering similar (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of cartelization and abuse of dominance by a provider of home loan services (ICICI Bank)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Existence of large number of players in the home loan market shows that ICICI Bank (“ICICI”) cannot operate independently in the market and, hence cannot be considered to be in a position of dominance in the relevant market. In the absence of any evidence indicating an agreement or (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance by a reinsurance company as its client insurance companies retain the freedom to decide their premium rates as well as their reinsurer under national law (Automotive Tyres Manufacturers Association / General Insurance Corporation of India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS The markets for insurance and reinsurance exist as separate markets and insurance companies have the commercial freedom to price their policies as they deem fit according to the market conditions and decisions taken in the reinsurance market do not place any restriction on insurance (...)

The Indian Supreme Court upholds the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal’s decision declaring no hub-and-spoke cartel involving two ride-hailing platforms in the automobile services market for fixing cab fares through their apps (Uber / Ola)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Uber and Ola finally win antitrust case in India -Supreme Court upholds NCLAT decision -No Hub and Spoke cartel – (but importantly rejects NCLAT decision on lack of locus standi)* The Supreme Court of India vide its judgment dated 15.12. 2020 has upheld the concurrent findings on merits of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders another investigation against a Big Tech company’s alleged abuse of dominance in the market for online app-based payments (Google UPI)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI orders another investigation against Google’s alleged abuse of dominance by Google pay in the market for online app based payments* By way of order dated 09/11/2020, the Competition Commission of India (“Commission/CCI”) has directed the Director-General to cause an investigation against (...)

The Indian Competition Authority receives an anonymous complaint on alleged dominance by a Big Tech company through the Android ecosystem (Google UPI)
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
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National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
Introduction Pursuant to the scrutiny of WhatsApp over allegation of abusive dominance regarding its Payment app, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) warranted a detailed investigation against Google to monitor its anti-competitive practices over multiple facets including a violation of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance and exclusive arrangements against a Big Tech company in the menswear fashion retail market (Lifestyle Equities / Amazon)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance and exclusive arrangements against Amazon in the menswear fashion retail market* By way of order dated 11.09.2020, the Competition Commission of India (“Commission/CCI”) has dismissed allegations of: (i) abuse of dominance and (ii) concluding (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance allegations against a Big Tech company for entering into exclusive agreements due to the company not being dominant in the market for online fashion retailing (Lifestyle Equities / Amazon)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance issues against e-commerce platforms ought to be analyzed individually in respect of each product on a case-by-case basis. In the absence of dominance, issues of sale of counterfeit products on an e-commerce platform do not raise (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance and exclusive arrangements against an e-commerce company in the market for fashion merchandise (Lifestyle Equities / Amazon)
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
In an order dated 11.09.2020, the Competition Commission of India (hereinafter ‘CCI’ or ‘the Commission’) dismissed the allegations of abuse of dominance and, entering into anti- competitive agreements against Amazon and the other opposite parties. The Indian Antitrust watchdog observed that Amazon (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses an allegation of abuse of dominance resulting from the termination of a dealership agreement by a manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters due to lack of dominance (India Yamaha Motor)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS An alleged illegal termination of a dealership agreement by a manufacturer who does not command a dominant position does not attract the abuse of dominant position provisions of the Competition Act. BRIEF FACTS Vijay Chaudhary (“Dealer”) was an authorised dealer of India Yamaha (...)

The Indian Competition Authority finds no dominance and therefore dismisses a case against a public transport company for alleged abuse of dominance in the parking services sector (Delhi Metro Rail)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS A government-owned corporation is an enterprise within the meaning of the Competition Act if it engaged in economic activity and can be investigated for violation of provisions of the Competition Act. BRIEF FACTS Dhiraj Gupta, a sole proprietor secured the license for parking (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance allegations against a retirement home company due to lack of dominance, but notes the parties may direct their grievances to sectoral regulators (Ashiana Housing)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Within the real estate sector, different categories of residential properties are not necessarily substitutable and therefore form separate relevant markets. Further, certain industrial practices though not within the realm of the CCI may require regulatory intervention. BRIEF (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance in the digital payments market for two Big Tech companies (Harshita Chawla / WhatsApp / Facebook)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI dismisses allegations on WhatsApp and Facebook for abuse of dominance in digital payments market* By way of order dated 18.08.2020, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of abuse of dominance by WhatsApp Inc (“WhatsApp”) and Facebook Inc (“Facebook”) in the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance claims against two online platforms and clarifies that bundling products is not necessarily tying so long as consumers can choose to not use the bundled products (Harshita Chawla / WhatsApp / Facebook)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Key Points The mere fact that a case has been filed by an aggrieved party under the Act, does not take away its character of being a case in rem involving a larger question of fair and competitive markets. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that the informant need not necessarily be an (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears a mobile application from tying allegations (Harshita Chawla / WhatsApp / Facebook)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s judicial authority for competition matters rendered decision in the case of Harshita Chawla v. WhatsApp Inc. and ors in August, 2020 wherein it inter-alia cleared the mobile messaging service, WhatsApp Inc. from allegations of abuse of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority rejects a complaint against trademark holders concluding that legitimate assertion of trademark rights is not an abuse of dominance (Prashant Properties / SPS Steels Rolling Mills)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI rejected at prima facie stage a complaint that SPS Steels Rolling Mills (SPS) and other related entities/individuals had abused their dominant position by making an announcement threatening civil and criminal prosecution of any person using the trademark ‘ELEGANT’ or associated (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses abuse of dominance claims against an online food ordering platform due to proof that the platform actually tried to resolve price disparities between itself and physical locations of its partners whenever it received a complaint (Swiggy)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Swiggy does not select or modify the rates charged by its partner restaurants and therefore, any discrepancy in the rates is solely attributable to the partner restaurants. BRIEF FACTS An Information was filed under Section 19(1)(a) of the Act, alleging that the popular app-based (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal interprets strictly ’sufficient cause’ in an appellate framework for competition matters to tackle forum shopping practices (MAJ. Pankaj Rai / NITT)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
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Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in New Delhi, India’s appellate tribunal for competition matters has given a decisive ruling for appeals of orders of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). In Maj. Pankaj Rai v Secretary, Competition Commission of India decided in May, (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines the only national manufacturer of Viscose Staple Fiber for abusing its dominant position by practicing price discrimination without objective justification (Grasim Industries / Association of Man Made Fibre Industry of India)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Grasim Industries fined INR 302 crore for abusing its dominant position in the market for Viscose Staple Fiber (“VSF”) by the CCI* Key points A dominant entity has a special and differential obligation and ought to behave as a responsible corporate citizen. Discriminatory prices for similarly (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision that a company mandating a party to sign an agreement containing unfair and restrictive clauses is tantamount to abuse of its dominance (Verifone)
Supreme Court of India
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Supreme Court of India
Introduction The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) by way of its common order dated 13 March 2020 dismissed two appeals preferred by M/s Verifone India Sales Pvt Ltd. (Appellant/ OP 1/ Verifone) against two separate orders passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s order against an American electronic payment supplier for abusing its dominant position in the markets for POS terminals and electronic ticketing machines (Verifone)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
NCLAT upholds CCI’s orders against Verifone for abuse of dominance in the market for Point of Sale (“POS”) terminals and Electronic Ticketing Machines (“ETM”) in India.* Key points Verifone abused its position of dominance in the market for POS and ETM by imposing restrictive conditions within the (...)

The Indian National Company Law Appellate Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s order dismissing allegations of abuse of dominance in the market for industrial bearings (Asmi / SKF)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Given that the conduct related to a period prior to May 20, 2009, the CCI had no jurisdiction to investigation. Further, during the concerned period, none of the players in the relevant market enjoyed a position of strength for a long duration. Even thereafter, in 2015-16, domestic (...)

The Indian Competition Authority closes a case of alleged abuse of dominance by a state broadcaster and the national ministry responsible for broadcasting (Next Radio / Prasar Bharti / Ministry of Information and Broadcasting)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI closed a case of alleged abuse of dominance by Indian state broadcaster Prasar Bharti and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Opposite Parties). [1] Two private broadcasters complained that the Opposite Parties had abused their dominance in the market for the provision of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a complaint against a Fintech company for becoming dominant in the market after purchasing a technology provider in the financial services industry (Satyen Narendra Bajaj / PayU)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
It is trite law that, while the Competition Act prohibits an abuse of a dominant position, the mere existence of a dominant position with no evidence of abuse is not prohibited. This was made clear by the CCI in dismissing a complaint that PayU, a fintech company that provides payment (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into allegations that a paint company threatened anticompetitive actions against dealers who sought to partner with the complainant (JSW Paints / Asian Paints)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI directed the DG to investigate allegations that Asian Paints had abused its dominant position in decorative paints by threatening dealers who sought to partner with the complainant, JSW Paints. [1] The CCI found prima facie that Asian Paints was dominant given its above 50% market (...)

Mergers

The Indian Competition Authority fines renewable energy firm for gun-jumping (Adani Green / SB Energy)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Adani Greens Energy Limited (“Adani Green/Acquirer”) was served with a show cause notice (“SCN”) on 14 August 2021 in relation to its acquisition of S.B. Energy Holding Limited (“S.B. Energy/Target”) (“Combination”). The notice for the Combination was filed on 18 May 2021, pursuant to the execution of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines a renewable energy firm a nominal sum for gun jumping in a first of its kind decision (Adani Green / SB Energy)
Khaitan (Mumbai)
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Khaitan (Mumbai)
In its order dated 9 March 2022, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) penalized Adani Green Energy Limited (“Adani Green”) for gun jumping in connection with its acquisition of S.B. Energy Holding Limited (“SB Energy” / “Target”). Per the CCI, the central issue was of Adani Green gaining access (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of the Asian marketing subsidiary of a major pharmaceutical company by its UK and global healthcare subsidiaries (GSK Healthcare Overseas / GSK Healthcare UK / GSK Asia)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Overseas Limited (“GSK Healthcare overseas”) and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare UK Trading Limited (“GSK Healthcare UK”), (collectively referred to as “Acquirers”) are wholly owned subsidiaries of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Holdings (No.2) Limited (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves the merger between two power generation companies active in the upstream and downstream sectors as not likely to impact on competition (Jindal Power / Worldone)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Worldone Private Limited (“Worldone/Acquirer”) is an investment holding company, engaged in various businesses including the business of manufacturing steel and captive thermal power generation. Worldone presently has shareholding in various entities, including Jindal Power Limited (“JPL / (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of over 70% equity stake in a health and safety company by an investment fund (Forbes Enviro Solutions / Lunolox)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Lunolox Limited (“Lunolux / Acquirer”) is a special purpose vehicle incorporated by AI Global Investments (Cyprus) PCC Limited (“AI Global”) for the purposes of the proposed combination. AI Global operates as the investment hub for Asia for all the funds managed by Advent International Corporation (...)

The Indian Competition Authority unconditionally approves merger between two solar renewable energy companies (Reliance Solar / Sterling and Wilson solar)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Reliance New Energy Solar Limited (“Reliance Solar / Acquirer”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (“RIL”), a newly incorporated entity and does not offer any products or services in India. Recently it has announced the acquisition of a stake in REC Solar, which is engaged in (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves interconnected transaction between a national and international logistics services company whereby they will share amongst themselves national and international shipments respectively (FedEx India / Delhivery)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
FedEx Express Transportation and Supply Chain Services (India) Private Limited (“FedEx India”) is a subsidiary of Federal Express Europe Inc., which is ultimately held by FedEx Corporation, USA (“FedEx”), one of the largest express transportation companies in the world. Delhivery Limited (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears 71.25% purchase of a national asset manager by a newly minted Singaporean company which itself is owned by large global asset manager (BCP TopCo XII Pte / ASK Investment Managers)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by BCP TopCo XII Pte Ltd. (“Acquirer”) pursuant to a Share Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) between itself and ASK Investment Managers Limited (“Target”), persons set out in the SPA and the Shareholders Agreement, inter alia between the Acquirer and the Target. The Acquirer and the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority unconditionally approves merger between two life insurance companies without finalizing the market definition because the merger would have low market shares in all potential relevant markets (HDFC Life Insurance / Exide Life Insurance)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited (“Acquirer/HDFC Life”) pursuant to the execution of a Share Purchase and Share Swap Agreement, between HDFC Life, Exide Life Insurance Company Limited (“Target/Exide Life”), and Exide Industries Limited (‘Exide Industries’). The Acquirer and (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves joint acquisition of 100% shareholding in a biopharmaceutical outsourcing company by global investment companies (Parexel / Goldman Sachs / EFMS)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by Phoenix Parentco, Inc. (“Phoenix”) pursuant to the execution of the Interim Investors Agreement inter alia between Phoenix, EQT Investors and GS Investors; and Agreement and Plan of Merger inter alia between Phoenix, Phoenix Merger Sub Limited and Parexel Investment (...)

The Indian Competition Authority unconditionally approves the acquisition of shareholding in a general insurance company by a commercial bank (HDFC Bank / HDFC Ergo General Insurance)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by HDFC Bank Limited (“HDFC Bank/Acquirer”) pursuant to the execution of a Binding Term Sheet between HDFC Bank and Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (“HDFC”). It envisages an acquisition by HDFC Bank of 4.99% of the outstanding equity share capital, on an undiluted (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears the purchase by a Dutch healthcare provider of the healthcare outsourcing arm of a national healthcare company (Betaine / HGS)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was given pursuant to execution of a Master Framework Agreement, inter alia, between Betaine B.V. (“Acquirer”) and Hinduja Global Solutions Limited (“HGS/ Seller”), and India Business Transfer Agreement between HGS and Betaine. The notice envisages the acquisition of 100% interest in the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority unconditionally approves takeover of a national ICT distribution company by competitor (Savex Technologies / Inflow Technologies)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
A notice was filed by Savex Technologies Private Limited, India (“Savex/ Acquirer”) pursuant to Share Purchase Agreement executed between Savex, Inflow Technologies Private Limited, India (“Inflow”) and the existing shareholders of Inflow; and Shareholders Agreement executed between Savex, Inflow (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears acquisition of an investment management company by an online trading platform (Nextbillion / Indiabulls)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Nextbillion Technology Private Limited (“Acquirer/Nextbillion”), and Indiabulls Asset Management Company Limited (“Indiabulls AMC”) and Indiabulls Trustee Company Limited (“Indiabulls Trustee”), collectively (“Targets”), jointly filed a notice pursuant to execution of Share Purchase Agreement between (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears an acquisition transaction between two educational services companies (Think and Learn / Aakash)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI cleared the acquisition by Think & Learn Private Limited (BYJU’S) of sole control over Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL). This was the first transaction where the CCI assessed overlaps in the education sector (specifically, the online education sector). In its competition (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of two online retail supermarket companies by a digital payments technology company (Tata Digital / Supermarket Grocery Supplies / Innovative Retail Concepts)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI approved the acquisition by Tata Digital Limited (TDL) of up to 64.3% of the total share capital of Supermarket Grocery Supplies Limited (SGS) and a potential subsequent acquisition by SGC of sole control over Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited (IRC). TDL provides technology (...)

The Indian Competition Authority conditionally approves a merger between fashion retailers (Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail / Flipkart Investments)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. (“ABFRL / Target”) is a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956. ABFRL is engaged in the business of manufacturing and retailing branded apparels, footwear and accessories, through its retail stores, multi-brand outlets, departmental (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves a merger between a healthcare company and a hospital network as the merger is unlikely to raise anticompetitive concerns (Manipal Health Enterprises / Columbia Asia Hospitals)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
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Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Manipal Health Enterprises Private Ltd. (“MHEPL / Acquirer”) is part of the Manipal Educational and Medical Group which operates a network of hospitals providing multi-speciality care. Manipal Group has 15 hospitals spread across 7 cities in India under the brand name ‘Manipal Hospitals’. Outside (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves a merger between two power generation companies as the proposed combination is unlikely to cause any competition concerns (Greenko Energy Holdings / Orix)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Greenko Energy Holdings (“GEH / Party No. 1”) is a company limited by shares incorporated in Mauritius, engaged principally in the business activity of investment holding. It is the holding company of the Greenko Group of Companies (“Greenko”). GEH has an Indian subsidiary which is primarily (...)

The Indian Competition Authority clears acquisition by a Big Tech company of a minority shareholding in its commercial partner for new low-cost smartphones (Google / Jio Platforms)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI cleared the acquisition by Google International LLC (Google) of approximately 7.73% of the equity share capital in Jio Platforms Limited (Jio Platforms), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Google group entities also entered into a commercial agreement with Jio Platforms (...)

The Indian Competition Authority continues to require electronic filing of merger notifications and announces further delays of notification deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Indian Competition Commission (New Delhi)
Measures in view of threat of CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 pandemic* In continuation to the public notices issued on March 23, 2020, March 30, 2020 and April 13, 2020 wrt "Measures in view of threat of CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 pandemic", the following additional arrangements are made: Information with (...)

Procedures

The Indian Competition Authority relaxes signing rules for pleadings to include any employee authorized by the company board
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
Regulation 11 of the Competition Commission of India (General) Regulations specify the signatories for an information or a reference to, or a reply to a notice or direction issued by, the CCI. In the case of a company, such pleadings shall be signed by the Managing Director or, in his or her (...)

The Indian Competition Authority amends its regulations to fix the composition of the bench in final hearings
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
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Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI amended the Competition Commission of India (Meeting for Transaction of Business) Regulations, 2009 to address the composition of the CCI “coram” (bench) in final hearings. It is now provided that, during such final hearings, the coram of the CCI shall remain constant and it alone will (...)

The Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes specifies that the Competition Authority’s Director General and Secretary are eligible to obtain information on case parties from income tax authorities when needed
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has specified the Director General (DG)/Secretary of the CCI as persons to whom relevant information may be given by specified income-tax authorities. [1] Such information must be relevant and precise and may be supplied only where it is necessary to enable the (...)

The High Court of Delhi sides with the Indian Competition Authority and resolves the jurisdictional issue between the latter and the Intellectual Property Rights Authorities under the Patents Act (Monsanto)
Hidayatullah National Law University (Raipur)
Following the appeal made against several orders of Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) by Monsanto Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (“MHPL”), the Delhi High Court on 20th May, 2020 handed down the judgement of MHPL & Ors. v. CCI, clarifying mainly the jurisdictional issues between the IPR authorities (...)

The Indian Competition Authority authorises companies to collaborate and enter into agreements to share information to enhance the efficiency of production, supply, distribution, storage and acquisition during the COVID-19 crisis Free
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
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National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
Background. The outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic has pushed the global economy into total shambles. Economies all over the world are on a verge of collapse and the Indian economy has been no exception. The continuous surge in the covid-19 cases along with the countrywide imposition of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority publishes public notices to keep people updated about the COVID-19 situation measures Free
Jindal Initiative on Research in IP and Competition (Delhi)
How is Competition Commission of India functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic?* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been very prompt with adopting various measures to continue its working during this period of pandemic. The CCI has issued several circulars and public notices from (...)

The Indian Competition Authority extends its office closure and suspension of hearing all non-urgent cases in line with the Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
On 17 March, the CCI decided to adjourn all but urgent matters listed for hearing until 31 March 2020. A week later, on 23 March, it suspended: (a) all filings in relation to Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act (anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position); (b) all (...)

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