Search Your Queries Related To Trilegal


Competition: Legal Milestones in 2019 and a Look Ahead

28 Feb 2020

Trilegal mm competiton
The year 2019 witnessed some significant competition law developments such as the introduction of the green channel notification regime and the decision in the first international cartel case. This update discusses the key highlights of 2019 and a brief overview of what can be expected in 2020.


In 2019, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) completed ten years of enforcement activity and eight years of merger control regime. It introduced the green channel mechanism for approval of combinations which is a welcome move as it enables deemed approval of transactions on the same day as the filing of the merger notification.

On the leniency front too, the CCI granted a penalty reduction of 100% and 50% to the first and second leniency applicants respectively in its first international cartel case. Another noteworthy precedent was the granting of confidentiality by the CCI to the names of the employees of the leniency applicants in this case.


  • Merger control developments

    The CCI has consistently laid to rest the industry’s concerns of delays to the merger control regime by further improving the average time taken to approve transactions from 23 days in 2018 to 18 days in 2019.

    On 15 August 2019, the CCI introduced the ‘Green Channel’ mechanism, making India the only competition jurisdiction to allow ‘near-simultaneous’ clearance for certain transactions. Under this mechanism, if the parties do not have any direct or indirect horizontal or vertical overlaps, or are not engaged in complementary markets, their merger notification will be deemed to be approved on the same day as the filing. This is one of the CCI’s latest contributions to the ease of doing business in India and has already been used for five transactions (until 31 December 2019).

    In another precedent-setting move, the CCI approved the acquisition of L&T’s electrical and automation business by Schneider Electric and MacRitchie, subject to a set of behavioural remedies after an in-depth phase II investigation. The acceptance of purely behavioural remedies, without any structural remedies, is a novel and laudable step for the development of the merger control regime in India. With this, the CCI has demonstrated that it does not adopt a ‘one-size fits-all’ approach and is open to accepting tailored remedy packages that address the perceived competition harm.

    One of the initial contentious issues emanating from the implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) was when to approach the CCI,- whether before or after approval of the resolution plan by the committee of creditors (CoC). In 2018, the IBC was amended to provide that in case of a notifiable transaction, CCI approval must be obtained prior to the approval of the resolution plan by the CoC. In December 2019, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal gave a purposive interpretation to the amendment and held that this requirement of prior approval is directory and not mandatory and it is open for the CoC to approve the resolution plan subject to the approval of the CCI which may be obtained prior to the approval by the adjudicating authority.

  • Leniency regime

    Detection and busting of cartels remained the CCI’s primary enforcement priority in 2019. Over the last few years, the CCI has made amendments to streamline and strengthen leniency regulations.

    In 2019, the CCI decided its first international cartel case, in which the cartel participants were based outside India and had filed for leniency in multiple jurisdictions, including India. The CCI examined the appreciable adverse impact on competition in India and granted maximum permissible reduction to both applicants i.e., 100% penalty reduction to the first leniency applicant and 50% penalty reduction to the second leniency applicant. In addition, and for the first time, the CCI granted confidentiality on the names of the employees of the leniency applicants, given the sensitivities involved. This is a commendable move that will provide comfort to prospective applicants for approaching the CCI under the leniency regime.

  • Jurisdiction of CCI for investigation of vertical agreements

    The power and jurisdiction of the CCI to direct an investigation of an anti-competitive vertical agreement, without examining the impact on competition, was challenged before the Bombay High Court. The Court held that for a vertical agreement, the mandatory jurisdictional pre-requisite for the CCI to order an investigation was to arrive at a prima facie finding that the conduct of the parties causes appreciable adverse effect on competition (AAEC). As the CCI had not carried out any assessment of AAEC, the Court set aside the CCI’s order that directed investigation against Star India Private Limited and Sony Pictures Network India Private Limited for alleged anti-competitive vertical agreement. The CCI is expected to appeal this order before the Supreme Court, given that it severely impacts their base-line jurisdiction.

Download PDF to read more

Subscribe to our Knowledge Repository

If you would like to receive content directly in your inbox from our knowledge repository, please complete this subscription form. This service is reserved for clients and eligible contacts.


    Under the rules of the Bar Council of India, Trilegal is prohibited from soliciting work or advertising in any form or manner. By accessing this website,, you acknowledge that:

    • You are seeking information about Trilegal of your own accord and there has been no form of solicitation, advertisement or inducement by Trilegal or its members.
    • This website should not be construed as providing legal advice for any purpose.
    • All information, content, and materials available on this website are for general informational purposes only.
    • Any information obtained or material downloaded from this website is completely at the user’s volition, and any transmission, receipt or use of this website is not intended to, and will not, create any lawyer-client relationship.
    • Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. Trilegal is not liable for the consequences of any action taken by any person based on any material or information available on this website, or for any inaccuracy in or exclusion of any information or interpretation thereof.
    • Readers of this website or recipients of content or information available on this website should not act based on any or all such content or information, and should always seek advice of competent legal counsel licensed to practice in the appropriate jurisdiction.
    • Third party links contained on this website re-directing users to such third-party websites should neither be construed as legal reference / legal advice, nor considered as referrals to, endorsements of, or affiliations with, any such third party website operators.
    • The communication platform provided on this website should not be used for exchange of any confidential, business or politically sensitive information.
    • The contents of this website are the intellectual property of Trilegal.

    We prioritize your privacy. Before proceeding, we encourage you to read our privacy policy, which outlines the below, and terms of use to understand how we handle your data:

    • The types of information we collect and why we collect them.
    • How we use your information to provide a personalized experience.
    • The measures we take to ensure the security of your data.
    • Your rights and choices in managing your personal information.
    • How we may share information with trusted partners for specific purpose.

    For more information, please read our terms of use and our privacy policy.

    Up arrow