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Guidelines to ease regulatory compliance burden for M&A in next 3-4 weeks: CCI chairman
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is giving final touches to the guidelines for reducing regulatory compliance burden related to mergers and acquisitions (M&As) for businesses, lawyers and they shall be out within next three-four weeks, CCI chairman, Ashok Chawla said at an event organized by industry body Assocham in New Delhi.

While inaugurating the Assocham international conference on 'Competition Law: Challenges in the implementation,' Chawla also informed that on the M&A side, the CCI officials will engage with parties on substantiative issues thereby moving to the next stage from pre-merger filing consultations on procedural process issues

“We are in the process of taking a final decision on this and it will be put out in the public domain shortly and that will go further and help in the process of understanding for those who handle such matters on how the commission perhaps be expected to look at matters which you bring on the table for approval and the views which the officers will give you will not be binding on the commission but it will be a step in the right direction,” he said.

Earlier in his address, expressing unhappiness over the tardy pace of settlement of routine cases, the CCI chairman said, “Our target now is that most matters which need to be carried right to the stage of adjudication and enforcement should get completed in about one year’s time as the sting in the information of complaint to that extent is lost if every routine case takes long.”

He also said that when any information comes to the CCI, it should be able to decide one way or the other in about three months whether the case is moving ahead or not as there are many cases which don’t fall within the four corners of the competition law.

“When it goes for investigation i.e. when it is sent to us we consider there is something prima facia we need to look into and the reasonable period of time for this should be about six months and most cases (unless they are very complicated) can be handled within this period assuming there is adequate engagement and co-operation from the other side and then finally when it comes back to us in 3-4 months we should be able to decide the matter.”

While conceding that there are issues of manpower, capacity and the process of adequate learning vis-a-vis the process and robustness of investigation which is critical in examination and enforcement of competition law, Chawla said, “We've got some changes made with the help of the government in terms of staffing and my own sense is that in the next 3-4 months we should be better equipped to handle this whole process and capacity keeps on improving as they handle more and more difficult cases.”

The CCI chairman also stressed upon the need to build an appropriate architecture which stands the commission in good stead in next 10-15 years, not just in terms of numbers but in the manner in which we do business, in the manner in which capacities are made, the manner in which we use technology.


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