THE MONOPOLIES AND RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT, 1969
THE MONOPOLIES AND RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT, 1969
Title : THE MONOPOLIES AND RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT, 1969
Year : 1969
(1) For the purposes of this Act, the Central Government shall establish, 1*[by notification], a Commission to be known as the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two and not more than eight other members, to be appointed by the Central Government.
(2) The Chairman of the Commission shall be a person who is, or has been or is qualified to be, a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court and the members thereof shall be persons of ability, integrity and standing who have adequate knowledge or experience of, or have shown capacity in dealing with, problems relating to Economics Law, Commerce, Accountancy, Industry, Public Affairs or Administration.
(3) Before appointing any person as a member of the Commission, the Central Government shall satisfy itself that the person does not, and will not, have, any such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as such member.
(1) Every member shall hold office for such period, not exceeding five years, as may be specified by the Central Government in the notification made under sub-section (1) of section 5, but shall be eligible for re-appointment:
Provided that no member shall hold office as such for a total period exceeding ten years, or after he has attained the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a member may-
(a) By writing under his hand and addressed to the Central Government resign his office at any time;
(b) Be removed from his office in accordance with the provisions of section 7.
(3) A casual vacancy caused by the resignation or removal of the Chairman or any other member of the Commission under sub-section (2) or otherwise shall be filled by fresh appointment.
1*[(3A) Where any such causal vacancy occurs in the office of the Chairman of the Commission, the senior-most member of the Commission, holding office for the time being, shall discharge the functions of the Chairman until a person appointed to fill such vacancy assumes the office of the Chairman of the Commission.
(3B) When the Chairman of the Commission is unable to discharge the functions owing to absence, illness or any other cause, the senior-most member of the Commission, if authorised so to do by the Chairman in writing, shall discharge the functions of the Chairman until the day on which the Chairman resumes the charge of his functions.]
(4) No act or proceeding of the Commission shall be invalid by reason only of the existence of any vacancy among its members or any defect in the constitution thereof.
(5) The Chairman of the Commission and other members shall receive such remuneration and other allowances and shall be governed by such conditions of service as may be prescribed:
Provided that the remuneration of the Chairman or any other member shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
(6) In the case of a difference of opinion among the members of the Commission, the opinion of the majority shall prevail and the opinion or orders of the Commission shall he expressed in terms of the views of the majority.
(7) The Chairman of the Commission and 2*[every other member] shall, before entering upon his office, make and subscribe to an oath of office and of secrecy in such form, in such manner and before such authority as may be prescribed.
(8) 3*[The Chairman or any member] ceasing to hold office as such shall not hold any appointment in, or be connected with the management or administration of, any industry or undertaking to which this Act applies for a period of five years from the date on which he ceases to hold such office.
(1) The Central Government may remove from office any member, who-
(a) Has been adjudged an insolvent, or
(b) Has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves moral turpitude, or
(c) Has become physically or mentally incapable of acting as such member, or
(d) Acquired such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially his functions as a member, or
(e) Has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to the public interest.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no member shall be removed from his office on the ground specified in clause (d) or clause (e) of that sub-section unless the Supreme Court, on a reference being made to it in this behalf by the Central Government, has, on an inquiry held by it in accordance with such procedure as it may specify in this behalf, reported that the member ought, on such grounds, to be removed.
(1) The Central Government may, by notification, appoint a Director General of Investigation and Registration, and as many Additional, Joint, Deputy or Assistant Directors General of Investigation and Registration, as it may think fit, for making investigation for the purposes of this Act and for maintaining a Register of agreements subject to registration under this Act and for performing such other functions as are, or may be provided by, or under, this Act.
(2) The Director General may, by written order, authorise one of the Additional, Joint, Deputy or Assistant Directors General to function as the Registrar of Agreements subject to registration under this Act.
(3) Every person authorised to function as the Registrar of Agreements and every Additional, Joint, Deputy or Assistant Director General shall exercise his powers, and discharge his functions, subject to the general control supervision and direction of the Director General.
(4) The Central Government may provide the staff of the Commission and may, in addition, make provisions for the conditions of service of the Director General, Additional, Joint, Deputy or Assistant Director General and of the members of the staff of the Commission.
(5) The conditions of service of the Director General or any Additional, Joint, Deputy or Assistant Director General or of any member of the staff of the Commission shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.]
The salaries and allowances payable to the members and the administrative expenses, including salaries, allowances and pensions, payable to or in respect of officers and other employees of the Commission, shall be defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
The Commission may inquire into-
(a) Any restrictive trade practice-
(i) Upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such practice 1*[from any trade association or from any consumer or a registered consumer association, whether such consumer is a member of that consumers' association or not], or
(ii) Upon a reference made to it by the Central Government or a State Government, or
(iii) Upon an application made to it by the 2*[Director General], or
(iv) Upon its own knowledge or information,
(b) Any monopolistic trade practice, upon a reference made to it by the Central Government 3[or upon an application made to it by the Director General] or upon its own knowledge or information.
2*[(1) The Commission may, before issuing any process requiring the attendance of the person against whom an inquiry (other than an inquiry upon an application by the Director General) may be made under section 10, by an order, require the Director General to make, or cause to be made, a preliminary investigation in such manner as it may direct and submit a report to the Commission to enable it to satisfy itself as to whether or not the matter requires to be inquired into.]
(2) The Director General may, upon his own knowledge or information or on a complaint made to him, make, or cause to be made, a preliminary investigation in such manner as he may think fit to enable him to satisfy himself as to whether or not an application should be made by him to the Commission under 3[***] section 10.
(3) For the purpose of conducting the preliminary investigation under sub-section (1), or sub-section (2), as the case may be, the Director General or any other person making the investigation shall have the same powers as may be exercised by an Inspector under sub-section (2) of section 44.
(4) Any order or requisition made by a person making an investigation under sub-section (1), or sub-section (2), shall be enforced in the same manner as if it were an order or requisition made by an Inspector appointed under section 240 or section 240A of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), and any contravention of such order or requisition shall be punishable in the same manner as if it were an order or requisition made by an Inspector appointed under the said section 240 or section 240.]
(1) The Commission shall for the purposes of any inquiry under this Act have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:-
(a) The summoning and enforcing the attendance of any witness and examining him on oath;
(b) The discovery and production of any document or other material object producible as evidence;
(c) The reception of evidence on affidavits;
(d) The requisitioning of any public record from any court or office;
(e) The issuing of any commission for the examination of witnesses;
1*[(f) The appearance of parties and consequence of non- appearance.]
(2) Any proceedings before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), and the Commission shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for the purposes of section 195 2*[and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)]
(3) The Commission shall have power to require any person-
(a) To produce before, and allow to be examined and kept by, an officer of the Commission specified in this behalf, such books, accounts or other documents in the custody or under the control of the person so required as may be specified or described in the requisition, being documents relating to any trade practice, the examination of which may be required for the purposes of this Act; and
(b) To furnish to an officer so specified such information as respects the trade practice as may be required for the purposes of this Act or such other information as may be in his possession in relation to the trade carried on by any other person.
(4) For the purpose of enforcing the attendance of witnesses the local limits of the Commission's jurisdiction shall be the limits of the territory of India.
3*[(5) Where, during any inquiry under this Act, the Commission has any grounds to believe that any books or papers of, or relating to any undertaking in relation to which such inquiry is being made or which the owner of such undertaking may be required to produce in such inquiry, are being, or may be, destroyed, mutilated, altered, falsified or secreted, it may, by a written order, authorise any officer of the Commission to exercise the same powers of entry, search and seizure in relation to the undertaking, or the books or papers, aforesaid as may be exercised by the Director General while holding a preliminary investigation under section 11.]
12A - 4*Power of the Commission to grant temporary injunctions
(1) Where, during an inquiry before the Commission, it is proved, whether by the complainant, Director General, any trader or class of traders or any other person, by affidavit or otherwise, that any undertaking or any person is carrying on, or is about to carry on, any monopolistic or any restrictive, or unfair, trade practice and such monopolistic or restrictive, or unfair trade practice is likely to affect prejudicially the public interest or the interest of any trader, class of traders or traders generally or of any consumer or consumers generally, the Commission may, for the purposes of staying or preventing the undertaking or, as the case may be, such person from causing such prejudicial effect, by order, grant a temporary injunction restraining such undertaking or person from carrying on any monopolistic or restrictive, or unfair, trade practice until the conclusion of such inquiry or until further orders.
(2) The provisions of rules 2A to 5 (both inclusive) of order XXXIX of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), shall, as far as may be, apply to a temporary injunction issued by the Commission under this section, as they apply to a temporary injunction issued by a Civil Court, and any reference in any such rule to a suit shall be construed as a reference to an inquiry before the Commission.]
5*[Explanation I.-For the purposes of this section an inquiry shall be deemed to have commenced upon the receipt by the Commission of any complaint, reference or as the case may be, application or upon its own knowledge or information reduced to writing by the Commission.
Explanation II.-For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the power of the Commission with respect to temporary injunction includes power to grant a temporary injunction without giving notice to the opposite party.]
12B -6* Power of the Commission to award compensation
(1) Where, as a result of the monopolistic or restrictive, or unfair trade practice, carried on by any undertaking or any person, any loss or damage is caused to the Central Government, or any State Government or any trader or class of traders or any consumer, such Government or, as the case may be, trader or class of traders or consumer may, without prejudice to the right of such Government, trader or class of traders or consumer to institute a suit for the recovery of any compensation for the loss or damage so caused, make an application to the Commission for an order for the recovery from that undertaking or owner thereof or, as the case may be, from such person, of such amount as the Commission may determine, as compensation for the loss or damage so caused.
(2) Where any loss or damage referred to in sub-section (1) is caused to numerous persons having the same interest, one or more or such persons may, with the permission of the Commission, make an application, under that sub-section, for and on behalf of, or for the benefit of, the persons so interested, and thereupon the provisions of Rule 8 of Order I of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), shall apply subject to the modification that every reference therein to a suit or decree shall be construed as a reference to the application before the Commission and the order of the Commission thereon.
(3) The Commission may, after an inquiry made into the allegations made in the application filed under sub-section (1), make an order directing the owner of the undertaking or other person to make payment, to the applicant, of the amount determined by it as realisable from the undertaking or the owner thereof, or, as the case may be, from the other person, as compensation for the loss or damage caused to the applicant by reason of any monopolistic or restrictive, or unfair trade practice carried on by such undertaking or other person.
(4) Where a decree for the recovery of any amount as compensation for any loss or damage referred to in sub-section (1) has been passed by any court in favour of any person or persons referred to in sub-section (1) or, as the case may be, sub-section (2), the amount, if any, paid or recovered in pursuance of the order made by the Commission under sub-section (3) shall be set off against the amount payable under such decree and the decree shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), or any other law for the time being in force, be executable for the balance, if any, left after such set-off.]
12C -7* Enforcement of the order made by the Commission under section 12A or 12B
Every order made by the Commission under section 12A granting a temporary injunction or under section 12B directing the owner of an undertaking or other person to make payment of any amount, may be enforced by the Commission in the same manner as if it were a decree or order made by a court in a suit pending therein and it shall be lawful for the Commission to send, in the event of its inability to execute it, such order to the court within the local limits, of whose jurisdiction,-
(a) In the case of an order against a company, the registered office of the company is situated, or
(b) In the case of an order against any other person, the place where the person concerned voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain, is situated, and thereupon the court to which the order is so sent shall execute the order as if it were a decree or order sent to it for execution.]
(1) In making any order under this Act, the Commission may make such provisions not inconsistent with this Act, as it may think necessary or desirable for the proper execution of the order and any person who commits a breach of or fails to comply with any obligation imposed on him by any such provision shall be deemed to be guilty of an offence under this Act.
(2) Any order made by the Commission may be amended or revoked at any time in the manner in which it was made.
(3) An order made by the Commission may be general in its application or may be limited to any particular class of traders or a particular class of trade practice or a particular trade practice or a particular locality.
13A -1* Power of the Commission to cause investigation to find out whether or not orders made by it have been complied with
(1) The Commission may, if it has any reasonable cause to believe that any person has omitted or failed to comply with any order made by it under this Act or any obligation imposed on him by or under any order made by the Commission under this Act, authorise the Director General or any officer of the Commission to make an investigation into the matter and the Director General, or the officer so authorised, may, for the purpose of making such investigation, exercise all or any of the powers conferred on the Director General by section 11.
(2) On the conclusion of the investigation, the Director General, or, as the case may be, the officer so authorised, shall submit to the Commission a report of the investigation to enable the Commission to take such action in the matter as it may think fit.]
13B -2* Power to punish for contempt
The Commission shall have, and exercise, the same jurisdiction, powers and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court has and may exercise and, for this purpose, the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 shall have effect subject to the modifications that-
(a) The reference therein to a High Court shall be construed as including a reference to the Commission;
(b) The reference to the Advocate-General in section 15 of the said Act shall be construed as a reference to such Law Officer as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in the behalf.]
Where any practice substantially falls within 1*[monopolistic, restrictive or unfair, trade practice, relating to the production, storage, supply,] distribution or control of goods of any description or the provision of any services and any party to such practice does not carry on business in India, an order may be made under this Act with respect to that part of the practices which is carried on in India.
No order made under this Act with respect to any monopolistic or restrictive trade practice shall operate so as to restrict-
(a) The right of any person to restrain any infringement of a patent granted in India, or
(b) Any person as to the condition which he attaches to a licence to do anything, the doing of which but for the licence would be an infringement of a patent granted in India, or
(c) The right of any person to export goods from India, to the extent to which the monopolistic or restrictive trade practice relates exclusively to the production, supply, distribution or control of goods for such export.
(1) The central office of the Commission shall be in Delhi but the Commission may sit at such places in India and at such times as may be most convenient for the exercise of its powers or functions under this Act.
(2) The powers or functions of the Commission may be exercised or discharged by Benches formed by the Chairman of the Commission from among the members.
(1) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the hearing of proceedings before the Commission shall be in public.
(2) Where the Commission is satisfied that it is desirable to do so by reason of the confidential nature of any offence or matter or for any other reason, the Commission may-
(a) Hear the proceeding or any part thereof in private;
(b) Give directions as to the persons who may be present thereat;
(c) Prohibit or restrict the publication of evidence given before the Commission (whether in public or in private) or of matters contained in documents filed before the Commission.
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission shall have power to regulate-
(a) The procedure and conduct of its business;
(b) The procedure of Benches of the Commission;
(c) The delegation to one or more members of such powers or functions as the Commission may specify 1*[and subject to any general or special direction given, or condition imposed, by the Commission, a member, to whom any powers or functions are so delegated, shall exercise such powers or discharge those functions in the same manner and with the same effect as if they had been conferred on such member directly by this Act and not by way of delegation and any order or other act or thing made or done by such member in pursuance of the power or function so delegated shall be deemed to be an order or other act or thing made or done by the Commission.]
(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, the powers of the Commission shall include the power to determine the extent to which persons interested or claiming to be interested in the subject-matter of any proceeding before it are allowed to be present or to be heard, either by themselves or by their representatives or to cross-examine witnesses or otherwise to take part in the proceeding.
The Commission shall cause an authenticated copy of every order made by it in respect of a restrictive trade practice 1*[or an unfair trade practice, as the case may be,] to be forwarded to the Director General who shall have it recorded in such manner as may be prescribed.
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