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Competition watchdog operational from today

May 20, 2009 16:43 IST

After a long wait of five years, India's official anti-monopoly body, the Competition Commission of India, would finally become operational from Wednesday.

Sections three and four of the Competition Act were notified by the government a couple of days earlier to enable CCI to start its enforcement activities from Wednesday, said a senior official of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

While section three deals with anti-competitive agreements, section four deals with abuse of dominant position. However, sections five and six dealing with mergers and acquisitions have yet to be notified, as the Commission is still said to be studying the effects of these sections.

An independent body responsible for investigating mergers, market shares and conditions, beside regulating firms, CCI would ultimately replace the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission.

It was created under the Competition Act, 2002, later amended by Parliament in September 2007. MRTPC will continue to deal with pending cases for two years before being dissolved. However, it would not admit any new cases from May 20.

"Corporate sector should welcome the enforcement of sections three and four, through which healthy competition practices would be encouraged and unhealthy practices would be prohibited," said Vinod Dhall, former chairman of CCI.

"I hope the Commission would be allowed to function autonomously and professionally without undue interference from various quarters and the corporate sector would cooperate with it," added Dhall.

At present, there are five CCI members, including the chairman. Dhanendra Kumar, former executive director of the World Bank, is the chairman.

The other five are Geeta Gauri, ex-director (tariffs), Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission; P N Parashar, former judicial member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal; HC Gupta, former coal secretary and R Prasad, former chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

Eventually, there would be seven members in all. The process of selection for two additional members is already on. According to the MCA official, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet would select two members from the three shortlisted.

These three shortlisted members are - MCA secretary Anurag Goel, Planning Commission secretary Subhas Pani and M L Tayal, principal secretary to the Haryana chief minister. Also in place is the three-member Competition Appellate Tribunal, to which appeals against the Commission's orders can be made. Justice Arijit Pasayat, retired judge of the Supreme Court, is chairman of the Tribunal.

Ex-secretary, personnel, Rahul Sarin and Praveen Tripathi, former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General would be the two other members.

Sapna Dogra Singh in New Delhi
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