India enacted a
new competition law, the Competition Act 2002, to replace the Monopolies
and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act 1969. Subsequently, the
Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established in October 2003
under the Competition Act.
The new Act essentially focuses on four core areas:
• Anti-competitive agreements
• Abuse of dominance
• Combinations regulation
• Competition advocacy
Anti-competitive agreements could be either horizontal or vertical in
nature and have the potential of restricting competition. A particularly
pernicious type of anti-competitive agreement is cartel.
Cartels are difficult to unearth. More often than not, cartels do not have
formal or written agreements. Essentially, they operate on oral
understandings. Consequently, proving a cartel or cartelisation is beset
with practical difficulties and in particular, absence of evidence.
Despite this factual handicap, the MRTP Commission did try some cartel
cases, and indeed proved successful in establishing some of these.
Nevertheless, the experience of MRTPC cannot be considered to be
satisfactory in this regard. It would, therefore, be worthwhile to study
cartel cases tried in some other jurisdictions to draw learnings for the
new competition authority so that it is better equipped to deal with
It is in this context that CUTS undertook a project entitled “Study of
Cartel Case Laws in Select Jurisdictions: Learnings for the CCI”.