CCI plans to fix 1-year time to decide cases

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 17 2014, 07:50am hrs
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) plans to issue final orders within a broad one-year time frame in matters where it decides to carry out detailed investigations.

The fair trade watchdog has adopted a broad philosophy of "3-6-3" period for deciding matters, according to its chief Ashok Chawla.

At present, the CCI on an average takes about one-and-a-half years to decide on matters where investigations have been ordered by it.

The broad plan of the Commission, which keeps a tab on unfair trade practices at the market place, also comes at a time when the number of complaints received by the regulator seem to be on the rise.

Explaining the idea of "3-6-3", Chawla said the regulator would take about three months to decide whether the matter requires further investigation. Once a decision on probe is taken, the same would be completed in next six months. After that, the CCI expects to complete the process of hearing the concerned parties and pursuant enforcement action within next three months.

"... the mantra that we are giving for this particular year that has started is that what ever comes to us we should decide and finalise within one year," Chawla said on Friday.

As a general thumb rule, competition matters do take time, he added. "By and large 12 months, with some internal variation, if possible or needed, is what we should be aiming to deliver," Chawla noted.

The CCI refers a case to its investigation arm -- director general (DG) -- only if there is prima-facie evidence of violations of competition norms. Otherwise, the matter is rejected at the initial stage.

In the last financial year (2012-13), 86 information were filed with the CCI and they were related to various sectors, including real estate, film industry, finance and infrastructure. Out of these, about 28 cases were referred to the DG for a detailed probe.

"By the end of the reporting period (2012-13), the investigation process was completed in 27 cases (including cases referred in the previous year)," as per CCI's annual report for the last fiscal.