Competition Commission of India has amended CCI (General) Regulations, 2009 to specify that an advocate may accompany any person summoned by the DG to appear before him, subject to specified conditions.
According to the new Regulation 46A, a written request along with Vakalatnama/Power of Attorney must be submitted prior to commencement of proceedings. Further, the advocate will not sit in front of the person summoned and shall not be at a hearing distance. The accompanying advocate shall not communicate with the person, during his examination on oath.
The regulation in effect from 7-12-2018, also states that no ‘misconduct’ on the part of the Advocate, accompanying the person summoned during continuance of his presence before the DG shall be permitted. The Advocate, guilty of misconduct, can also be barred from appearing in the proceedings before the DG as well as before the Commission.
It may be noted that Delhi High Court in its order dated 25-5-2018 in the case of CCI v. Oriental Rubber Industries had held that right of a person to be accompanied or represented by an advocate cannot be extinguished considering the severe consequences of enquiry or investigation under Section 41(2) of the competition Act.
The Court had then held that it is open for the DG to make appropriate procedural orders to ensure that witness is not able to consult with counsel.