India watchdog sets fees to expedite antitrust case disposals

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Filing fees for antitrust case disposals
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India’s antitrust watchdog has introduced filing fees for miscellaneous applications related to antitrust proceedings in a major effort to discourage frivolous cases.

The filing fee varies from INR500 (USD6.25) to INR5,000 based on the applicant’s category, and is expected to discourage interlocutory applications.

An individual will be charged INR500, whereas associations, non-government organisations and trusts will be charged INR1,000. Companies with a turnover of up to INR20 million will need to pay INR1,000, while companies with a higher turnover will need to pay INR5,000.

Parties tend to file multiple applications to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in on-going antitrust cases on various grounds including seeking extensions, adjournments, cross-examinations, third-party applications, and the establishment of confidentiality rings, among other reasons.

The imposition of filing fees aims to bring about a more disciplined approach to antitrust proceedings and discourage frivolous requests, which tend to prolong case resolution. The introduction of filing fees for miscellaneous applications is an amendment to the CCI (General) Regulations, 2009, and should result in better case management.

The CCI has assured that all interlocutory applications will be registered, numbered and scrutinised within seven days from the date of receipt. The regulations were last amended in November 2019, to prevent conflicts of interest between the commission and sectoral regulators, and to avoid forum shopping.

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