Compliance scheme for India Inc on the anvil
By Sankalp Saini | ENS - NEW DELHI
03rd December 2012 09:49 AM
With issues of abuse of dominant position by enterprises, cartelisation and entering into anti-competition agreements posing significant challenges for India Inc, very soon Indian companies would be having a Competition Compliance Programme (CCP) for their employees.
To prepare a blueprint for such a programme, officials of Competition Commission of India (CCI) are meeting chief executive officers of top 100 Indian corporates early next year. “...An interactive meeting which we plan with CEOs of top 100 companies to ensure that they motivate their employees to take notice of the legal landscape and put in place a Competition Compliance Programme in their organisations,” said Ashok Chawla, Chairman, CCI while addressing a conference organised by the American Bar Association here.
Explaining the rationale behind the framing of such a programme, he said unless senior company officials are actively engaged in knowing about competition issues, “the message may not pass down the hierarchy and the pyramid.” The proposed meeting with CEOs could take place as early as January or in the first quarter ending March 31.
To be modelled on the lines of corporate governance policy, the CCP will provide a formal framework for both management and individual employees to comply with the provisions of Competition Act, 2002. Not only will it help in identifying actual and potential infringements of law at an early stage but will give corporates an opportunity to take remedial action. In cases of potential cartelisation, an early detection may also provide the opportunity to avail of the leniency provisions under the Act.
According to an advocacy booklet on CCP for enterprises prepared by CCI in June 2008, a well-formulated and adequate compliance programme should address the current business realities faced by enterprises. Furthermore, it recommends that every dominant enterprise should make it a point to educate its employees, especially senior executives, about the type of behaviour that should be carefully avoided. Companies that are part of industry/trade associations need to have a clear policy regarding participation in association meetings and the need to keep the legal counsel in picture when in doubt.
Having signed an MoU on antitrust cooperation with the US in September this year, Chawla said CCI is also looking at signing formal MoUs with some other key jurisdictions as well. However, he did not disclose the names of the jurisdictions as well as the timeframe for inking the MoUs. “We are also forging active engagements with multilateral agencies like OECD and UNCTAD,” he added.
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