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CCI proposes changes in confidentiality regime for efficient proceedings

New Delhi, Feb 27, 2024 

CCI's proposed amendments to the confidentiality regime aim to streamline the processes and enable timely disposal

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has proposed changes in its Confidentiality Ring regime to enable access to the confidential information and documents to authorised persons appointed by the parties, during proceedings before the Commission.

The “Confidentiality Ring” concept was first introduced in April 2022 to enable parties involved in a case to gain access to the confidential information of other parties, to defend themselves effectively.

CCI’s proposed amendments to the confidentiality regime aim to streamline the processes and enable timely disposal.

Parties seeking confidentiality over their confidential information, or seeking to establish a confidentiality ring to access the confidential information of other parties, are now required to submit undertakings on affidavit, which was earlier only a self-certification process without affidavit. The CCI has also prescribed systematic and chronological timelines for accessing documents through the Confidentiality Ring.

“The requirement of submitting undertakings on affidavits clubbed with the strict prescribed timeline for its submission will be onerous on parties, especially in cases involving foreign nationals as consularisation/apostilisation of documents in foreign jurisdictions are time-consuming, which may conflict with the prescribed CCI timelines,” said Vaibhav Choukse, partner, JSA Advocates & Solicitors.

CCI has proposed that a party seeking confidentiality over the information or the document furnished by it shall set out cogent reasons for such treatment and shall self-certify that making the information public will result in disclosure of trade secrets or destruction or appreciable diminution of the commercial value of any information or can be reasonably expected to cause serious injury.

The party also has to confirm, along with the date on which such confidential treatment shall expire, the fact that the information is not available in the public domain and is known only to limited employees, suppliers, distributors, and others involved in the party’s business among other things.

The CCI has invited stakeholders' comments on the proposed amendments till March 27, 2024.

Taking inflation into account since 2009 when the fee for inspection had been fixed, CCI has also proposed a revision in the charges for carrying out inspection.

[The Business Standard]

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