CCI Comes Out with SOP on Virtual Hearing; Prohibits Parties from Recording Proceedings
File Photo of Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India.
New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has come out with a standard operating procedure for virtual hearings, strictly prohibiting the parties and their authorised representatives from recording the proceedings. Any such action shall be viewed seriously and appropriate action would be initiated against the parties or authorised representatives, the regulator said on Tuesday.
All the authorised representatives — advocates, chartered accountants, company secretaries, and cost accountants — parties and parties-in-person are required to follow the protocol issued by the fair trade watchdog. For conducting hearings through video conferencing (VC), a URL would be sent through e-mail in advance to one concerned authorised representative of each party, who would then circulate it to the party to whom it is representing and other authorised representatives/ senior counsel and their juniors as per the protocol.
Among other instructions, authorised representatives and parties, who wish to join virtual hearings, are required to sign an undertaking in the prescribed format and send the scanned copy through mail, preferably a day before the hearing date. "The parties and authorised representatives shall not share, disclose and disseminate the link shared with them for the purposes of VC with any other person," CCI said.
It added that only the parties-in-person and authorised representatives shall remain present during the virtual hearings and no other person shall be allowed to attend the same. As part of the protocol, any list of dates, note of arguments or convenience compilation has to be filed seven days in advance after serving copies to other parties.
All parties and authorised representatives shall be given opportunities to present their case. Any attempt to jump in during the presentation by another party may disrupt the proceedings, as per the regulator's general instructions. "Such conduct may also invite 'muting' of the microphone of the disrupting party," it added.