The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is reviewing its ‘Confidentiality Regime‘ under Regulation 35 of the Competition Commission of India (General) Regulations, 2009. This comes in light of experience gained and difficulties faced in enforcement the extant mechanism.
Detailed drafts of a ‘Confidentiality Ring’ and the revised Regulation 35 are available on CCI’s website. The public is invited to send in their recommendations via email to ‘[email protected]‘ by May 12, 2021.
What does the Provision say?
As per Section 57 of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’), “No information relating to any enterprise, being an information which has been obtained by or on behalf of the Commission or the Appellate Tribunal for the purposes of this Act, shall, without the previous permission in writing of the enterprise, be disclosed otherwise than in compliance with or for the purposes of this Act or any other law for the time being in force”.
Further, as per Regulation 47 of the General Regulations, “Except where the Commission may so direct, for reasons to be recorded, the proceedings before the Commission, during an ordinary meeting, shall not be open to public.“
Regulation 35 of the General Regulations provides a detailed mechanism to deal with confidentiality requests. It inter alia provides the procedure and the parameters for seeking confidentiality claims.
Thus, CCI proceedings are only open to the parties involved. The Regulations impose statutory disclosure restrictions on information obtained by or on behalf of the CCI to maintain its sanctity. They also govern the extent and manner of these restriction. Section 36 of the Act mandates CCI function in accordance with principles of natural justice. Finally, subject to other provisions of the Act and any rules made by the Central Government, the Commission has the power to regulate its own procedure.
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