“Competition is not only the basis of protection to the consumer but is the incentive to progress” By Herbert Hoover 

Competition is a fundamental component in the lives of consumers. For the consumers, competition in the economy is a pivotal factor in deciding advantages, suitable costs, and the assortment of decisions to look over. At the point when a layman opines competition, the person likely has two pictures as a primary concern. The first is a game or sporting event, wherein two uniformly coordinated with rivals, play a vivacious, however firmly challenged, match like the match between Real Madrid vs Barcelona. The second is a market that takes after a scrum in a rugby match with various firms scrambling for each piece of business — the more diverse, the more competitive.

When there are exercises that hamper the opposition, the consumers are the absolute first party that gets influenced, and subsequently comes the economy of a nation.

Meaning & Concept of Cartel

A cartel is an organization made from a proper arrangement between a party of makers of a good and service to manage supply to operate or control costs. Specifically, a cartel is an assortment of in any case autonomous organizations or nations that act together as though they were a solitary maker and accordingly can fix costs for the products they produce and the services they render, without competition. For example, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is the world’s biggest cartel. It is a group of 14 oil-producing nations whose mission is to arrange and bind together the petrol strategies of its member nations and guarantee the adjustment of oil markets.

Section 2 (c) of the Competition Act, 2002 defines cartels as an association of makers, sellers, wholesalers, shippers, or specialist organizations who, by agreement, restriction, control or endeavor to control the creation, dissemination, vending or cost of or exchange merchandise or the dispense of services.

In the case of Union of India v. Hindustan Development Corporation, the cartel was an association of makers who, by shared arrangement, endeavored to control the creation, deal, and costs of the item to acquire a monopoly in a specific sector or product. This adds up to an inequitable business practice that is not in the public interest. The aim to gain monopoly power might be communicated when such a cartel is established by a portion of the makers.

Essentials of Cartel

There are three essentials of the Cartel that are:

  1. The presence of agreement or agreement between the contenders. 
  1. The agreement concerns makers, venders, wholesalers, merchants or specialist co-ops, which the parties engage in something similar or comparative exchange or service. 
  1. The agreement restricts, restrict, control or endeavor to control the creation, circulation, vending, cost or exchange of goods or services.

The direct opposite of competition is the monopoly, which as a rule happens when fewer makers, rather than contending, meet and structure an association or cartel. The monopoly made by the cartels is all things considered, not helpful for progress. It stunts development and hampers the improvement of the way of life of the populace.

Cartels are the most appalling infringement of competition law and are broadly viewed as the most inimical anti-competitive of conduct available today and are prohibited in many nations. The agreements essential for the agreements considered to have a huge unfavorable impact on competition. Cartels can happen in practically any sector and may include labor and products at the assembling, dispersion, and retail levels.

Cartels a Dangerous Concept

Agreements between endeavors occupied with the exchanging of goods or the agreement of indistinguishable or comparative services, including cartels, of four kinds mentioned in the law, are trusted to have a huge unfavorable impact on competition and are anti-competitive and anti-competitive vacant.

Although, the agreements of the four types alluded in law, are not expected to have a material antagonistic impact on competition and are excluded from agreements of Section 3 of the Competition Act in the event that they increment the productivity of the creation, supply, dispersion, storage, procurement or control of goods or the agreement of services. Agreements other than those alluded in section (3) of the Competition Act, incorporates:

  1. Tie-in course of agreement. 
  1. An exclusive inventory agreement. 
  1. A select appropriation agreement. 
  1. A refusal to agreement. 
  1. Resale value service.

The Leniency Strategy 

Section 46 of the Competition Act enables the Commission to allow leniency by forcing a lesser punishment on an individual from the cartel who gives total, honest and fundamental data about the agreements. The framework is intended to urge individuals to take part in the detection and search of agreements.

This framework depends on the rule that the discharge of cartels requires proof given by an individual from the cartel. Comparative leniency frameworks have demonstrated valuable for competition experts in distant jurisdictions to effectively indict cartels.

The Commission has advised the 2009 Guideline of the Indian Competition Commission (least punishment) setting the interaction, strategy, and technique for allowing leniency to individuals from the cartel that fall inside the extent of the cartel and who become valuable to the Commission and assisted with taking out the supposed cartels.

Judicial pronouncements on Cartel

In the case of Price Parallelism vs. Price Fixing, the Alkali & Chemical Corporation of India Ltd. And Bayer India Ltd. Furthermore, Bayer India Ltd, the organizations were occupied with the assembling and offer of elastic synthetics and held a prevailing portion of the absolute market for these items. Charges were laid against them, raising them to indistinguishable costs five or multiple times approximately the same date. Notwithstanding, there was no immediate proof accessible behind the cost increment.

In the case of DG vs. Modi Alkali and Chemicals Limited, a complaint was registered that some of the biggest organizations in northern India have shaped a cartel to raise costs for their items. The costs of chlorine gas and hydrochloric acid rose by 277% and 200% separately in six and four months in 1992. This brought about an agreement between the parties to make a counterfeit lack to raise the costs of their items. Since raw material costs, specifically sodium chloride and electricity, remained essentially unaltered, this would be an anecdotal emergency made to exploit the market and increment the costs of their items.


The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a proactive controller and has prominently been embraced backing drives to add to the talk between market rivalry controllers and potential leniency candidates. Hence, there has been a rise in the tally of leniency cases in India which is cogitative of careful attention to the leniency system in the country. Simultaneously, there is an obvious pattern in the tally of bid-fixing issues, particularly in the area of public acquisition. Given the desolation that anti-competitive exercises can unleash on the sustainable monetary advancement of the country, the Competition Act should be pushed into the spotlight now more than ever.  

This article is written by Ajay Kataria, from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Law University, Sonepat, Haryana.



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