New Delhi: Criticized for not proactively taking up cases, competition regulating body CCI has now decided to undertake suo moto investigations into anti-trust practices, starting with key sectors like construction, highways, education and health.
    
The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which became fully functional in May, 2009, has so far taken up only five suo moto cases, including price rise in onions, air tickets and cartelisation of sugar rates.
    
"We are mulling suo moto action against key industry sectors like construction, highways, education and health. Our action is mainly based on economic survey reports. Will soon order DG investigation based on prima facie evidence of anti-competitive practices in the sectors," a senior official said.
    
The official said primary education was one area which required serious attention even from the point of view of the regulatory mechanism guiding them.
    
"We have prima facie found that some loopholes in the regulatory mechanism, too, have given rise to anti-competitive practice in these sectors," he said.
    
Another source added that it would be a difficult attempt to prove and proceed against cases against which there are no formal complaints. Complaints and prima facie evidence usually form the basis of the CCI initiating a probe against any enterprise or body.
    
"The decision to take up suo moto cases was taken after much debate within the Commission," he said.     

Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act empower the CCI to take up cases relating anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, respectively.
    
The investigations would be ordered under section 26 of the Competition Act, 2002. The section empowers the Commission to order an inquiry by the Director General into a matter if it finds that a prime facie case exists with respect to violation of competition laws.

(Agencies)