During opposition’s demand for adjournment in both houses, Lok Sabha passes bill to amend Competition Act

Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed The Competition Amendment Bill, 2022 as disruptions continued in the both Houses over opposition’s demand for Adani issue and over disqualification of Rahul Gandhi.
While the Competition Amendment Bill was passed in shouting without discussion, the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The bill was later sent to the joint committee of the two Houses after Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav moved a motion in the House. The bill seeks to further to amend the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The second part of budget session has seen continuous disruptions and Lok Sabha has not functioned for more than one hour on any day.
According to PRS Legislative, which tracks work of Parliament, Rajya Sabha functioned for more than one hour on only one day when it felicitated the winners of the Academy Awards. There have been a total of 12 sittings so far.
The government moved several amendments to the Competition (Amendment) Bill. The bill seeks to amend Competition Act, 2002 and change certain definitions like “enterprise”, “relevant product market”, “group”, “control” to provide clarity.
It seeks to regulate mergers and acquisitions based on the value of transactions, broadening the scope of anti-competitive agreements and inclusion of a party facilitating an anti-competitive horizontal agreement under such agreements.
The Competition Act, 2002 was enacted in 2002, to provide for establishment of a Commission to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in India.
There has been a significant growth of Indian markets and a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate and in view of the economic development, emergence of various business models and the experience gained out of the functioning of the Commission, the Centre constituted Competition Law Review Committee, to examine and suggest the modifications in the Act.
After review of the recommendations proposed by the Committee, public consultations and with a view to provide regulatory certainty and trust-based business environment, the government felt it imperative to amend the Act.
The bill proposes introduction of Settlement and Commitment framework to reduce litigations and has provisions for “value of transaction” as another criteria for notifying combinations to the Commission.
The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill 2023 seeks to exempt certain categories of lands from the purview of the Act, allowing strategic projects to be fast tracked.
Rajya Sabha also contiuned to face disruptions amid of opposition members who have been demanding a joint parliamentary committee on the Hindenburg-Adani row. There will be no sitting of the two Houses on Friday.
Leaders of various like minded opposition parties met in the chamber of Congress President Mallikarjun Khargeji ahead of the start of sitting of the two Houses on Wednesday.
Congress continued to target the government over disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha and accused it of double standards.
At a press conference at party headquarters, party leader Shaktisinh Gohil said that Amreli BJP MP Naranbhai Bhikhabhai Kachhadia was not disqualified despite being convicted for three years in a criminal case.
He said after Kachhadia’s conviction in 2016, Congress leaders had made representations but no action was taken.
Gohil said the BJP leader finally got relief from the Supreme Court after paying a fine and was again given ticket by the party.
Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha last week following his conviction by a Surat court in a criminal defamation case.

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