New Delhi: A day after Parliament approved a bill to strengthen the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the panel said today (11 September) it has asked the government to expand its staff by at least four times to make it fully operational.
“We have already submitted an IIM-Bangalore study to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and want the government to immediately sanction additional post of 60 officers to gear up the Commission to discharge greater responsibilities in the days ahead,” CCI member Vinod Dhall told PTI.
The CCI’s demand for more staff assumes importance in view of the government decision to fully operationalize the Commission by mid-2008 following approval of Competition (Amendment) Bill 2007 by Parliament yesterday.
The Commission, which is only partly functional since its constitution in 2003, has only 14 officers and one member.
The IIM-Bangalore study on the future structure of the Commission, conducted earlier in the year, has recommended that CCI’s staff strength be increased to 480 over a period of five years, he said.
The CCI also wants the government to constitute a selection committee comprising Chief Justice of India or his nominee, one representative each from ministries of corporate affairs and law and two experts from the field of finance, accountancy and law to select chairman and members of the panel.
“We also want the government to notify the amendments and frame rules as early as possible,” Dhall said, adding that the Bill will have to be approved by the President before entering the statute books.
Although the Competition Act was enacted in 2002, it could not be made fully functional as certain lawyers filed writ in the Supreme Court against its provisions.
The apex court in a 2005 order directed the government to address legal issues, especially pertaining to appointment of chairman and members.
Pursuant to the amendments to the Act, Dhall said, the Commission would act as an expert body of professionals, while functions of judicial nature, especially those dealing with compensation to aggrieved parties, will be decided by the proposed Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT).
The amendments to the Competition Act have also made it clear that the Commission would function as a market regulator for preventing anti-competitive practices in addition to undertaking advisory and advocacy role.
The government, while pursuing the amendments, has also made it clear that Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) would be wound up after two years and the pending cases would be transferred to CAT or the National Commission constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, depending upon the nature of the dispute.