Delhi High Court has held that right of a person to be accompanied/represented by an advocate cannot be extinguished considering the severe consequences of enquiry/investigation under Section 41(2) of the Competition Act.

The Court in this regard in its Judgement dated 24-5-2018 noticed absence of any such restriction in the Advocates Act and the Competition Regulations. It observed that since the rule is that advocates must have the right of practice under Section 30 of the Advocates Act, any exception to this rule cannot be lightly presumed and must be specifically provided under the statute.

Further, noting that the DG would fall under Section 30(ii) of the Advocates Act, as being a person “legally authorized to take evidence”, the Court was of the view that therefore, advocates under Section 30 would have the right to practice before such individual.

Reliance for this purpose was also placed on an earlier decision in the case of Google Inc. v. Competition Commission of India. Considering Competition Commission of India’s concern that active participation of the counsel may not be conducive to larger public interest, the Court in its decision in the case of CCI v. Oriental Rubber Industries held that it is open for the DG to make appropriate procedural orders to ensure that witness is not able to consult with counsel.