Sailing through COVID-19: A stormy year for CCI

The last 12 months have brought the world face-to-face with unprecedented challenges. Life has thrown a curveball to everyone: individuals, governments, businesses, and regulators alike have had no option but to evaluate and explore a “new normal”. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which successfully completes 12 years of enforcement and 10 years of merger control this month, is no exception. Despite the upheavals stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, CCI has not slacked off on competition and merger enforcement. Rather, it found a new path for work and focus as it responded to numerous challenges.

The past year unfolded as the most challenging and important year for competition law, beginning with CCI releasing its much-anticipated market study on e-commerce in January 2020 and its announcement to conduct market research in the telecom, pharmaceutical, and issue-based studies on common ownership by Private Equity (PE) funds and its impact on competition. Just before the lockdown, in March 2020, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) released the draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (Bill) for public comment. This was followed by a temporary suspension of CCI’s regulatory functions to contain the spread of COVID-19, and the issuance of an advisory to businesses on competitor collaborations during COVID-19 in April 2020.  Currently, a standard operating procedure is in place to conduct virtual hearings/pre-filing consultations/meetings with CCI’s officers.

Please click here to read the full article by Vaibhav Choukse and Nripi Jolly, published in CNBC TV18.