The Competition Commission of India (CCI) proposes to change its “confidentiality ring” regime that provides access to commercially sensitive and confidential information to authorised persons appointed by the parties during proceedings before the Commission. 

The “Confidentiality Ring” concept was introduced to allow parties access to confidential information/documents of other parties during an investigation to defend themselves effectively.  

To ensure timely and effective disposal of matters, the CCI intends to prescribe timelines for accessing documents through the Confidentiality Ring, Submission of Undertakings on affidavit etc. 

CCI’s latest move comes in the wake of parties often taking significant time to complet requirements such as filing undertakings for being part of the Confidentiality Regime, carrying out inspections and obtaining certified copies. 

The Competition Commission has now invited stakeholder comments on draft changes and given time till March 27 to send in their views. 

Meanwhile, CCI has also taken into account the inflation in the economy and revised charges for carrying out inspections. 

It may be recalled that CCI had, in April 2022, introduced the concept of a “confidentiality ring” to comfort the corporates sharing commercial information with the competition watchdog. 

CCI has now prescribed systematic and chronological timelines for accessing documents through the Confidentiality Ring. It is now required to submit undertakings on affidavit, which was earlier only a self certification process without affidavit.

Vaibhav Choukse, Partner, JSA Advocates & Solicitors, said that the requirement of submitting undertakings on affidavits clubbed with the strict prescribed timeline for its submission will be onerous on parties, especially in cases involving foreign nationals as consularisation/apostilization of documents in foreign jurisdictions are time consuming, which may conflict with the prescribed CCI timelines.