INTERNATIONAL: INDIA - CARTELS - BID RIGGING - STANDARD OF PROOF - LENIENCY

India: Trends and evolution in bid-rigging cartels

Cartels have been at the forefront of the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) enforcement regime. This article assesses the elements of bid rigging cartels, constituents that create a case for bid rigging, the CCI’s approach in India based on the standard of proof adopted and evidentiary requirements. Leniency has played a vital role in combating bid-rigging in India. The recent developments proposed to enhance the competition law regime in India by the proposed Competition Bill, 2020 have also been factored.

1. It has been over a decade since the enforcement provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) were notified in India. The Act prohibits anti-competitive practices which cause or are likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition (AAEC) in India. Section 3(3) of the Act prohibits horizontal agreements, which are agreements between enterprises, each of which operates at the same level in the production or distribution chain. [1] Cartels have been the prime focus of the CCI’s antitrust enforcement. 2. Any agreement falling within the domain of Section 3(3) would per se be treated as adversely affecting the competition to an appreciable extent, and be void. Bid rigging is defined to mean, “any agreement, between enterprises or persons referred to in sub-section (3) engaged

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Soumya Hariharan, Nandita Sahai, Sakshi Agarwal, Akrathi Shetty, India: Trends and evolution in bid-rigging cartels, May 2020, Concurrences N° 2-2020, Art. N° 93973, www.concurrences.com

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