KIIT Centre for Studies in Business and Corporate Laws (KCBCL) is under the parasol of its Chief Patron – Prof. Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS; Patrons – Prof. (Dr.) Hrushikesh Mohanty, Vice Chancellor, KIIT-DU; Prof. (Dr.) Sasmita Samanta, Pro Vice-Chancellor; and Prof. (Dr.) J. R. Mohanty, Registrar. It functions under the guidance of Chairperson Prof. (Dr.) Bhabani Prasad Panda, Director, KIIT School of Law, who has constantly motivated to organize different webinars to achieve the mission to get KCBCL nationally and internationally recognized, and help the student & faculty community to learn, implement and advocate contemporary laws.
KIIT Centre for Studies in Business and Corporate Law (KCBCL), School of Law conducted a webinar series on ‘Anti-Competitive Agreements under the Competition Act, 2002’ and ‘Leniency Regime in India’ on 10th April 2021 over Zoom Platform. It was graced by two eminent speakers – Dr. Vijay Kumar Aggarwal, Senior Consultant, Competition Law and Policy, Lex Indis and Mr. Vaibhav Choukse, Partner, Competition Law, J. Sagar Associates, Advocates and Solicitors. Participants included LLB students, LLM students, professors and professionals. E-Certificates were given to each participant acknowledging their presence and contribution to the webinar.
The webinar commenced with the introductory speech by Prof. Umang Ghildyal, Faculty Convenor for the event. Welcoming the guest speakers on behalf of KIIT School of Law, he briefly outlined the topic for the discussion.
Speaking at the first session, Dr. Vijay Kumar Aggarwal initiated the discussion by defining the meaning of the word ‘competition’. He evaluated the World Bank’s definition of such a complex and technical subject and provided an overview of Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002, which explicitly deals with the anti-competitive agreements. Dr. Aggarwal briefly discussed the definition of the term agreement with respect to case laws and further described the horizontal agreements, vertical agreements cartel and bid-rigging.
The two propositions of law to be discussed in detail were : Whether the scope of Section 3(1) is independent of Section 3(3) & Section 3(4)?; and Whether the determination of the relevant market is the precondition for the assessment of the appreciable adverse effect on competition (AAEC) with respect to Section 3(3) of the Act?
Dr. Aggarwal also referred to the Competition Law Amendment Bill, 2020 which is pending before the Lok Sabha and highlighted the amendments that the bill would have on the provisions of the Act. He focused on the finding of the Raghavan Committee with regards to making the participants understand the intention behind such a structure of Section 3 of the Act. He also discussed a series of judgments where the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the Competition Commission of India have in length discussed the current proposition.
Dr. Aggarwal summarized through a series of judgment and reports that there is a statutory presumption as to Section 3(3) being treated as AAEC and difference in opinion of the Supreme Court and CCI on the subject matter which was finally concluded in the matter of CCI v. Bharti Airtel where the Supreme Court held that it was mandatory to determine the relevant market in order to proceed with the contravention under Section 3(3) of the Act.
The discussion was followed by a question-answer session. Prof. Rajdip Bhadra Choudhari, Faculty Member, KCBCL proposed the vote of thanks of the first session. Mudit Mandhana, Student Member of KBCL was Rapporteur of the session.
Taking the second session of the webinar, Mr. Vaibhav Choukse presented an overview of Competition Law and its development since the inception. He started with a brief introduction about the Leniency Policy and its evolution. He quoted about what will require for a Commission to identify a cartel and penalize it. The discussion also covered the Leniency Policy and its facets in India, where there are several cases under this policy that have been already decided by the Competition Commission of India, besides several pending cases.
Mr. Vaibhav made the audience understand the Leniency Programme as a whole. He discussed every possible fact, starting from the eyes of the first applicant, second applicant, and the subsequent applicants; till the investigation by the Director-General and the final decisions given by the CCI. For a greater sense of understanding, the resource person highlighted several real-time cases, under the head of recent trends. By way of his practical expertise and his being involved in several of the cases which were quoted, helped the participants gain greater insights about the working of the whole Leniency Policy in India. In furtherance to the recent trends, he also discussed the recent Competition Amendment Bill which was rolled in the year 2020 for public approval and is still pending before Parliament.
The discussion was followed by a question-answer session. Mr. Choukse acknowledged each and every question with much attention. Prof. Ipsita Das, Coordinator, KCBCL proposed the vote of thanks at the conclusion of the 2nd session. Suparna Kundu and Ankita Dhingra, Student Members of KBCL were rapporteurs of the session.
As many as 129 participants including 29 faculties participated at the webinar.