The Competition Commission of India is a special national level
expert body created under the Competition Act, 2002 to monitor and
regulate competition across all markets in India and protect the
interest of consumers in India. The Competition Commission has been
provided with a legal framework to determine competition issues. In
this regard, it has been vested with powers to undertake inquiries,
summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examine him
under oath, require the discovery and production of documents,
receive evidence on affidavit, issue commissions for the
examination of witnesses or documents, requisition any public
record or document , call upon such experts from the field of
economics, commerce, accountancy, international trade or from any
other discipline as it deems necessary to assist the Commission in
the conduct of any enquiry by it, direct any person, issue interim
order, issue final order, impose penalty and has the power to
regulate its own procedure.
There are various laws that have been enacted to regulate
specific sectors and which have provided for the creation of sector
specific regulatory bodies. The Petroleum and Natural Gas
Regulatory Board Act 2006 has created the Petroleum and Natural Gas
Regulatory Board to regulate the refining processing, storage,
transportation, distribution, marketing and sale of petroleum,
petroleum products and natural gas. It has also been established to
protect the interests of the consumers and entities engaged in
specified activities relating to petroleum, petroleum products and
natural gas. The Board has to also ensure uninterrupted and
adequate supply of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas in
all parts of the country and to promote competitive markets.
There are certain provisions of the Petroleum and Natural Gas
Regulatory Board Act, 2006 that can potentially overlap with the
functions of the Competition Commission. These provisions though
provide for protecting interest of consumers through fair trade and
competition do not however have any detailed legal framework to
determine whether there has been violation of the competition
principles. The extensive legal framework for determining the
competition issues is provided for under the Competition Act.
Further, the policies of the Petroleum Regulatory Board seek to
identify a problem in the beginning and create an administrative
machinery to address behavioral issues before the problem arises
whereas the competition policy addresses the problem afterwards in
the backdrop of the market conditions. The competition legislation
grants private right of action along with provision of damages.
This ensures a qualitatively higher standard of consumer welfare
which is unavailable under the legislative framework of the
Petroleum Regulatory Board. In fact the right of private action is
unclear under the various provisions of the PNGRB Act 2006. Unlike
the Competition Act 2002, it does not define a person. There is
also an absence of any guidance under the enactment to construe
'person'. Further, there is no possibility of recovery of
any damages for anti-competitive conduct under the PNGRB Act.
In view of the observations highlighted above, it is clear that
the Competition Commission of India is the main statutory authority
regulating and evaluating competition issues in all markets in
India and ensuring that no practice develops that has an adverse
effect on competition in all sectors . The Petroleum And Natural
Gas Regulatory Board in relation to competition issues should be
allowed to refer matters to the Competition Commission of
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Legal Metrology Act, 2009 was passed by the Indian Parliament in order to repeal and replace The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 and the Standards of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985.
In the wake of liberalization and privatization that was triggered in India in early nineties, a realization gathered momentum that the existing Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 was not equipped adequately enough to tackle the competition aspect of the Indian economy.
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