Dawn raids are an important tool for competition regulatory agencies around the world. The office of Director General (‘DG’), (the investigative wing of the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’)) is responsible for conducting dawn raids in India under the Competition Act, 2002 (‘Act’). The DG has already conducted a number of raids in India (the exact numbers are difficult to come by as these raids are unannounced and not formally publicised), but the rate of adoption of dawn raids has been slower in India as compared to the rest of the world. India had a rocky start with the first such raid being challenged and stayed by the Delhi High Court (‘DHC’) for not following fair procedure under the Act, and the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 – the guiding statutes on procedural fairness (or due process) for dawn raids in India.
To bring more clarity, robustness and transparency to the process, mature jurisdictions have released official detailed guidelines on conducting dawn raids. To prevent future writ challenges, it’s important to analyze whether the existing guidelines on dawn raids are adequate, and if they require more clarity in line with international best practices.