The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has rejected a complaint of anti-competitive practices against anti-narcotics agencies — the Central Bureau of Narcotics and the Narcotics Control Bureau — with regards to policies related to import of opium into the country.

A person, claiming to be farmer engaged in cultivation of poppy seeds in his complaint accused the two government agencies of abusing their regulatory powers/dominant market position by not implementing policies with respect to import of poppy seeds.

The Central Bureau of Narcotics falls under the Finance Ministry, while the Narcotics Control Bureau comes under the Home Ministry.

Dismissing the complaint, the CCI said in an order dated September 16 that there “does not exist a prima facie case for causing an investigation to be made by the Director General under section 26(1) of the [Competition] Act.”

The complainant accused the two agencies of following anti-competitive practices in implementing the EXIM Policy for registration of import contracts of opium.

He also accused the Central Bureau of Narcotics of “flouting the policy norms and objectives by permitting import of huge quantities of illegally and illicitly produced poppy seeds, into the market, thus harming the domestic cultivators”.

The agency was ignoring the safeguard norms of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act by not following mandatory registration requirements for importers and not verifying if the poppy seeds were legally cultivated in the country of origin, the complaint said.

As per the complaint, the Central Bureau of Narcotics solely regulated the import and export of poppy seeds in India and enjoyed statutory monopoly.

However the CCI said that the anti-narcotics agencies were only appointed by the government of India to regulate and control the import of poppy seeds into the country to ensure that illegally cultivated poppy seeds were not smuggled into India.

“As such, owing to the nature of activities of Opposite Parties, they cannot be compared to a commercial organisation and do not qualify to be an enterprise within the meaning of ...the [Competition] Act,” it said.

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