Internal Framework of CCI: How Director General and CCI Functions

Under Section 2(g) of the Competition Act, 2002, “Director General” means the Director General appointed under subsection (1) of section 16 and this may include any Additional, Joint, Deputy or Assistant Directors General appointed under that section. Under section 16(1) Central Government can appoint a Director General for the purposes of assisting the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) in conducting inquiry into contravention of any of the provisions of this Act and for performing other functions as provided in the Act.

 Section 19 of the Act empowers the CCI to inquire into any alleged contravention of the provisions of Section 3(1)[1] and 4(1)[2] either on its own motion or (a) on receipt of any information, from any person, consumer or their association or trade association in the prescribed manner; (b) a reference made to it by the Central Government or a State Government or a statutory authority.

 Section 26 of the Act, further provides that pursuant to Section 19, if CCI is convinced that there exists a prima facie case, it can direct the Director General to cause an investigation to be made into the matter. As per Section 26(3), Director General, on receipt of such direction from CCI, is required to submit a report on his findings within the period specified by the Commission. CCI may then forward a copy of the report to the parties concerned. If the report of the Director General recommends that there is any contravention, and CCI is of the opinion that further inquiry should be called for, it can inquire into such contravention in accordance with the provisions of this Act vide Section 26(8).

As per Section 35, a person or an enterprise or the Director General may either appear in person or authorise one or more chartered accountants or company secretaries or cost accountants or legal practitioners or any of his or its officers to present his or its case before the Commission. Most importantly, Section 36(1) of the Act clearly provides that CCI shall, in the discharge of its functions, be guided by the principles of natural justice, provided that CCI shall have, subject to the other provisions of the Act and of any rules made by the Central Government, the powers to regulate its own procedure. Section 41(1) vests the power to assist the Commission in investigating into any contravention of the Act and rules made thereunder to the Director General, when so directed by CCI.

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[1] No enterprise or association of enterprises or person or association of persons shall enter into any agreement in respect of production, supply, distribution, storage, acquisition or control of goods or provision of services, which causes or is likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.

[2] No enterprise or group] shall abuse its dominant position.

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