by Ann Minu Jose
In August 2022, the Competition (Amendment), Bill was introduced in the Indian Parliament. On April 11, 2023, the Bill received Presidential assent to become the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2023 (‘Amendment Act’). The Amendment Act aims to equip the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) with the necessary powers and tools to meet the demands of regulating an increasingly digital economy. As CCI notes in its Salient Features of the Amendment Act, the aim of the amendments was to ensure faster market correction and to provide regulatory certainty and a trust-based business environment.
The Amendment Act makes it imperative for a business to consider competition compliance programs in India seriously. There is exposure to new risks for businesses.
The Amendment Act has also introduced new programs that businesses can take advantage of in order to mitigate the impact of negative consequences.
Risk assessment is an essential principle of a credible compliance program. External changes to the business environment such as amendments to the law are a good reason for businesses to re-assess their risk exposure. With the abovementioned changes having far-reaching consequences, businesses can no longer ignore competition compliance in India.
To give effect to these amendments, CCI will issue regulations. The CCI has recently concluded its public consultation on the draft settlement and commitment regulations. Others in the works are regulations on leniency plus, computation of turnover, calculation of penalty, etc. This is a good opportunity for CCI to consider providing a stimulus by assigning a credit for compliance programs in immunity/leniency programs and penalty computation. Such incentives from the regulator to promote compliance can cultivate an environment of self-regulation by businesses.
[Disclaimer: All comments are made in my personal capacity and should not be attributed in any manner to the Canadian Commissioner of Competition]
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