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Competition Commission of India Amends General Regulations: New Norms for Accessing Confidential Information

Introduction

The Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) announced significant amendments to its General Regulations, 2009 through the CCI (General) Amendment Regulations, 2024. The amendments were made under the powers conferred by ss. 36 and 64 of the Competition Act, 2002. These changes aim to enhance the framework governing requests for confidential information by parties involved in competition law proceedings.

Key Amendments

1.   Confidentiality Requests (Reg. 35) - Revised significantly:

  • Parties seeking confidentiality must now provide cogent reasons and self-certify that publicising the information would be detrimental.

  • Requests for confidentiality must be accompanied by an affidavit, replacing the previous requirement of an undertaking from a board or equivalent body.

2.   Confidentiality Ring (New Sub-regulation 35(6A))

  • Parties seeking access to confidential information shall request the establishment of a Confidentiality Ring via an application as soon as possible.

  • If the request follows receipt of the non-confidential investigation report, it must be made within 10 days, extendable by 7 days if justified.

3.   Timelines and Procedures (Sub-regulations 35(7A) and 35(9)-(10))

  • Parties have 10 days to file undertakings related to the Confidentiality Ring, extendable by 5 days if necessary.

  • Inspection requests must be made within 7 days of submitting undertakings, with inspections to be completed within 21 days.

  • Certified copy requests must follow within 7 days post-inspection, to be fulfilled within 14 days.

  • The CCI may extend these timelines in exceptional cases.

4.   Clarifications in Reg. 37

  • Inspection and grant of certified copies are now clearly included as allowable actions. Time limits for inspection and copying confidential documents align with those stipulated in Regulation 35.

5.   Inspection and Copying Fees (Reg. 50)

  • The inspection fee has been increased to Rs. 2,500 per day, up from Rs. 1,000.

  • The term ‘Copying Charges for the parties to the proceedings’ has been revised to ‘Fees for supplying certified copies.’

Additional Amendments - Terminology Updates

  • Consistent updates should include ‘information' or’ before references to ‘document(s).’

  • Standardize terms, such as replacing ‘Board or any other equivalent body’ with ‘party.’

Our Analysis

The 2024 amendments to the Competition Commission of India's General Regulations substantially revise confidentiality protocols, enhancing the rigour of competition law proceedings. Replacing previous undertakings with affidavits and introducing a 'Confidentiality Ring' ensures stricter compliance and greater precision in handling sensitive information. The amendments also streamline procedures by setting clear timelines for accessing confidential data, improving procedural efficiency. Ultimately, these revisions aim to balance the transparency requirements of public interest with the confidentiality needs of involved parties, reflecting a commitment to accountability and protecting proprietary information in regulatory practices.

The complete text of the amendments can be accessed through the official notification[i] by the CCI.




End Note

[i] Notification No. 6 of 2024 [No. L-3(2)/REGL. -GEN. (AMDT.)/2024/CCI], dated 10-5-2024

2024_05_15_CCI_amends_General_Regulations__specifies_norms_w_r_t_request_by_party_seeking_
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Authored by Priyavansh Kaushik, Advocate at Metalegal Advocates. The views expressed are personal and do not constitute legal opinion.

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