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๐‚๐‚๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž๐ค๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฏ๐ข๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ž๐œ๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐‚๐จ๐ง๐Ÿ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ฒ ๐Œ๐ž๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ข๐ฌ๐ฆ

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The Competition Commission Of India (CCI) has released a Consultation Paper proposing to amend certain provisions pertaining to the Confidentiality Mechanism and Inspection of documents provided under the CCI (General) Regulations, 2009.

The Regulations allow the CCI for setting up of a โ€˜Confidentiality Ringโ€™ upon the specific request of a party to a proceeding which would allow certain authorized representatives of such party to access and inspect confidential information such as (a) documents/ material obtained through search and seizure operations; (b) e-mail dumps; (c) call detail records etc. The persons who are granted access to the Confidentiality Ring must provide on Affidavit that the information obtained as part of the Confidentiality Ring would not be disclosed to any other person, would only be used for the purposes of the ongoing proceeding and shall be destroyed on culmination of the proceeding.

The background of the present amendments is that the CCI had observed parties were taking significant time to make an application for setting up of the Confidentiality Ring and seeking inspection and thereby delaying the proceedings.

Hence, under the proposed amendments, certain timelines are proposed to be included to avoid delays in the proceedings. The party is required to make an application for setting up a Confidentiality Ring with 7 days of receipt of non-confidential information and a further period of 7 days may be allowed at the discretion of the Commission. Additionally, the Affidavit to maintain confidentiality, is also required to be filed within 7 days of receipt of order for setting up a Confidentiality Ring. Further, timelines have also been proposed under which a party who is part of the Confidentiality Ring may make an application for inspection of documents and obtain certified copies of the same.

Further, the fee for inspection of documents which was set in 2009 has been proposed to be revised from INR 1000 to INR 2500 per day per case in line with inflation.

Like the CCI, even SEBI has in place provisions for Confidentiality under the Settlement Regulations as well as provisions for an Informant Mechanism under the Insider Trading Regulations. Further, the Listing Regulations also mandate listed companies to have an effective vigil mechanism / whistle blower mechanism in place. However, it may be noted that SEBI has not legislated the process and mechanism for inspection of documents during a proceeding and the process for the same has only evolved through jurisprudence and various judicial decisions.

A copy of the proposed amendments by the CCI is enclosed herewith and available on the CCI website.

Readers are welcome to share their views with Regstreet Law Advisors on info@regstreetlaw.com

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