Dawn raids amendment: Small step or giant leap?

By Mihir Kamdar, Udwadia Udeshi & Argus Partners
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The Competition Amendment Bill, 2012, seeks to substantially amend the provisions in relation to search and seizure operations by the director general of the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Search and seizure operations, especially under antitrust law, are popularly known in various jurisdictions as “dawn raids” because generally antitrust regulatory authorities conduct surprise raids before the working day starts or on weekends for the purposes of investigating possible competition law infringements.

Proposed changes

A similar mechanism is found in India’s Competition Act in its present form where the CCI director general may conduct such an operation after obtaining an order of the chief metropolitan magistrate, Delhi. It needs to be considered whether the proposed amendment will serve the purpose of having the element of surprise, as a dawn raid under the proposed amendment can be conducted only after an investigation has commenced, which may accord adequate preparatory time to persons under the scanner of the CCI.

Mihir Kamdar
Mihir Kamdar

The prerequisite of an ongoing investigation exists in the Competition Act in its present form as well.

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Udwadia Udeshi & Argus Partners is a full-service law firm with offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. Mihir Kamdar is an associate partner at the firm.

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