Analyzing the Changing Standard of Proof with respect to Commercially Sensitive Information in Cartel Cases

Nayan Mittal, Law Graduate, Symbiosis Law School, Pune

Introduction

Recently, in the case of In Re: Cartelization in Industrial and Automotive Bearings (“Automotive Bearings Case”) the Competition Commission of India (“the Commission” or “CCI”) held that the discussion with respect to a commercially sensitive price related information amongst the competitors points out to cartelization under the Competition Act, 2002 (“Competition Act”). This decision marks a noted departure from the exiting approach established in Re: Cartelization in Flashlights Market in India(“Flashlights Case”) wherein it was held that discussion on commercially sensitive information is not anti-competitive even if it is meant to increase prices and the parties must actually act upon the information in order to constitute a violation. The present article analyses the changing standard of proof requirement with respect to commercially sensitive information in the Commission’s decisional practice.

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