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Competition Commission Of India finally gets a new Chairperson: Ravneet Kaur

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The Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Government of India issued a notification dated May 15, 2023 that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Ms. Ravneet Kaur (IAS, PB 1988) to the post of Chairperson, Competition Commission Of India for a period of five years from the date of assumption of charge, or till attainment of 65 years of age or until further orders, whichever is the earliest.

Ms. Ravneet Kaur will assume office, bringing an end to the interim leadership of Ms. Sangeeta Verma, who has been serving as the acting Chairperson since Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta stepped down in October 2022.

This appointment also comes at a crucial juncture as the Competition Commission Of India has been grappling with several questions surrounding its quorum and composition. As per the rules and regulations governing the Competition Commission Of India, a minimum of 3 members are required for a quorum in certain instances. However, since October 2022, the commission has been functioning with only 2 members i.e. Ms. Sangeeta Verma and Mr. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi.

While the issue of quorum has raised concerns about the smooth functioning of the commission, it has not hindered the progress of adjudicatory proceedings initiated by the Competition Commission Of India. A recent ruling by the Delhi High Court on April 24, 2023, in the case of Alliance of Digital India Foundation v. Competition Commission Of India and Ors., clarified that the Competition Commission Of India can continue its adjudicatory proceedings even in the presence of vacancies or defects in its composition. The court’s interpretation of Section 15 of the Competition Act, 2002, affirmed that the absence of a full commission does not invalidate the Competition Commission Of India’s proceedings.

This ruling holds particular importance for the Competition Commission Of India, which has been fearlessly taking on industry giants such as Google and Amazon. Any administrative disruptions caused by vacancies would undoubtedly reflect poorly on the government.

The Competition Commission Of India’s new leadership marks a crucial chapter in its journey, and its ability to address quorum concerns will play a vital role in maintaining its effectiveness as a regulatory authority.

Further, the significance of vacancies in regulatory / appellate bodies has been highlighted in our previous analysis regarding the Securities Appellate Tribunal, emphasizing the potential implications for India’s regulatory landscape. This analysis can be accessed here: https://lnkd.in/djU753qj.

We invite readers to share their perspectives on this matter with Regstreet Law Advisors by emailing us at info@regsteetlaw.com.

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