The Centre on Friday introduced in Lok Sabha the much awaited Competition law amendment Bill that, among other things, seeks to broaden the scope of anti-competitive agreements, speed up approvals of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and reduce litigations.

The Competition (amendment) Bill 2022 was introduced in the lower house by Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs.

The Bill provides for reduction of time-limit for approval of combinations from 210 days to 150 days and forming a prima facie opinion by the Commission within 20 days for expeditious approval of combinations.

Transaction value criteria

It also provides for  “value of transaction” as another criteria for notifying combinations to the Commission. Companies looking to acquire control, shares, voting rights must seek the Competition Commission’s approval if the value of the transaction exceeds ₹ 2,000 crore.

Also the Bill proposes introduction of limitation period of three years for filing information on anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position before the Commission.

Reduce litigation

The Bill also seeks to introduce Settlement and Commitment framework to reduce litigations. It proposes to incentivise parties in an ongoing cartel investigation in terms of lesser penalty to disclose information regarding other cartels. The Bill also seeks to substitute a provision which provides for penalty up to ₹ 1 crore or imprisonment up to three years or both in case of contravention of any order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal with provision for contempt;