The Department operates under the supervision of Member (Legal, Cartels & Trade Abuses) and is tasked with granting exemptions, both of its own accord and upon request, to certain agreements that would otherwise be prohibited. §4 of the Competition Act, 2010 prohibits an undertaking from entering into an agreement in respect of the production, supply, distribution, acquisition or control of goods or the provision of services which have the object or effect of preventing, restricting or reducing competition within the relevant market unless exempted under §5 of the Act for individual exemption or under §7 for block exemptions.
The criteria for any agreement to be considered for an exemption is given §9 of the Act, which says that exemptions may be granted to agreements which:
improve production or distribution; promote technical or economic progress;or result in benefits that clearly outweigh any adverse effects of lessening of competition.
Exemptions may be granted subject to certain conditions determined on a case-to-case basis. Compliance with conditions prescribed in the exemption certificate is mandatory. Depending on material changes in the agreements, exemptions may be extended or cancelled, as per provisions of the Act, Rules, and Regulations made thereunder.
Any party to an agreement can file an exemption application on the form in the Competition Commission (Exemption) Regulations, 2014 with the applicable fee.