Leniency plus’ norms

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has released the draft of revised lesser penalty regulations that provides for introduction of a “leniency plus” programme.

About leniency plus’ norms

  • It is a new cartel detecting tool, and sheds light on how the competition watchdog intends to operationalise it.
  • The “Leniency Plus” regime was part of the Competition (Amendment) Act 2023
  • Leniency Plus is a proactive antitrust enforcement strategy aimed at attracting leniency applications by encouraging companies already under investigation for one cartel to report other cartels unknown to the competition regulator. 
  • The benefit that would entail from such disclosure is reduction of penalty in the first cartel to the person disclosing the information, without prejudice to the company obtaining lesser penalty regarding the newly disclosed cartel.
  • This “leniency plus” regime is already recognised in jurisdictions like the UK, US, Singapore and Brazil.

Key facts about Competition Commission of India

  • It is a statutory body of the Government of India, was established in March 2009 under the Competition Act, 2002.
  • The goal of CCI is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of consumers.
  • The priority of the Commission is to eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers, and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India. 
  • Mandate: To implement provisions of The Competition Act, 2002, which –
    • prohibits anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position by enterprises;
    • regulates mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which can have an adverse effect on competition within India. Thus, deals beyond a certain threshold are required to get clearance from CCI.
  • Composition:
    • It has the composition of a quasi-judicial body, with one chairperson and six additional members.
    • All members of the CCI are appointed by the Central Government. 
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.

Q1) What is a quasi-judicial body?

It is an administrative or government agency that has the authority to make decisions, rulings, and determinations that resemble those made by a court but are not part of the traditional judicial system. Quasi-judicial bodies are typically created to handle specific types of disputes or regulatory matters, and they are often involved in matters such as administrative law, regulatory compliance, and the enforcement of government regulations.

Source: CCI issues draft of ‘leniency plus’ norms to curb cartelization.