In a recent telling judgment, the Supreme Court of India effectively and judiciously delineated the scope and manner of exercise of powers by the Competition Appellate Tribunal (hereinafter "the Tribunal") and the Competition Commission of India under the new Competition Act of 2002. The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal filed by the Competition Commission against the Tribunal order dated February 15, 2000. The dispute, being the first before the Supreme Court in relation to the Competition Act, has generated lot of curiosity and euphemism among lawyers, academia, and students. Even though the dispute did not involve interpreting any substantive concepts of competition law, the judgment will have significant bearing on the functioning of the Competition Commission of India and the Tribunal in times to come.
In this paper, I describe the judgment's importance for those readers having a special interest in competition law developments in India. Part II of the paper briefly sets out the background against which the Competition Act was enacted and enforced. Part III summarizes the main provisions of the Competition Act. Part IV briefly captures the facts of the dispute and order of the Tribunal. Part V paper deals with the issues framed by the Supreme Court and its findings. Finally, in Part VI, I draw conclusions.