MRTPC to close down in 2 yrs

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 31 2009, 06:55am hrs
Having served the nation for almost four decades, anti-monopoly watchdog MRTPC will cease to exist two years from now as the government has decided to notify section 66 of the Competition Act on September 1.

"The sunset clause (section 66 of the Competition Act) will come into motion from September 1," said corporate affairs minister Salman Khursheed while speaking at a conference organised by industry chamber PHDCCI on Saturday.

Commenting on the decision of the government that will start the countdown for winding up of MRTPC, Diljeet Titus, senior partner of law firm Titus and Co, said, "It was relevant for the period during which it was enacted. It has served its purpose. Today we need one body of codified laws to deal with competition issues."

Senior advocate O P Dua said, "The monopolies and restrictive trade practices commission will not be able to take up new cases. It will have two years to resolve the existing disputes, after which cases dealing with monopolies and restrictive trade practices will be transferred to the competition commission and those pertaining to unfair trade practices to consumer courts."

With notification of section 66 of the Competition Act on September 1, the SMTP Act, 1969 would be repealed, though the commission will have two years to wind up its operations. MPG, which was set up as quasi-judicial body in early 70, has been adjudicating disputes relating to unfair trade practices and anti-cartel behaviour of corporates.

Welcoming the government's decision, A S Pathak, a competition law expert, said, "Repeal of MRTP Act will bring about clarity on financial cases. The arguments would be more focused. It is definitely for the better." The notification and subsequent winding up of the MRTPC, Khursheed said, will end the problem of concurrent jurisdiction between the MRTPC and the Competition Commission.

The minister also told the PHDCCI conference that the government was open to listening to the concerns of industrialists about clauses of the Competition Act pertaining to mergers and amalgamations.

The government is yet to notify the sections of Competition Act that would empower the Competition Commission to vet large mergers and amalgamations that could have a bearing on competition climate in the country.

"It's high time that government fully operationalise the competition legislation," said Titus, adding that the government needs to provide requisite infrastructure, human as well as financial, to the competition commission.