Defining “Enterprises” Poses a Jurisdictional Challenge

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Abdullah Hussain, Apr 14, 2015

The High Court in Delhi is currently inundated with petitions questioning not only the jurisdiction of the Competition Commission of India to adjudicate on issues ranging from intellectual property rights enforcement, to overlapping jurisdiction with sectoral regulators, to the validity of the first dawn raid conducted by the Director General’s office, but also to adjudicate on the constitutional validity of the Competition Act, 2002 itself. Add to that the recent uptick in M&A transactions involving multi-billion dollars deals leading to the first ‘phase II’ inquiries by the CCI resulting in divestments, and it would be safe to say that the last 12 months have been very busy for the Indian competition law space.

In all the hullabaloo, there have been a few small but significant decisions passed by the Commission regarding the scope and determination of what constitutes an “enterprise” so as to fall under the Commission’s jurisdiction. These decisions have been especially relevant in cases concerning government entities. The government, be it union or state, remains India’s largest litigator, and several cases involving the government, through various instrumentalities, have found their way to the Commission. Many of them have been dismissed on the ground that the entity complained against did not fall under the purview of the term “enterprise.” However,…

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