The Future of Competition Law in India: Reading The Portents

Nisha Kaur Uberoi, Cyril Shroff, Jan 29, 2013

Competition law in India is governed by the Competition Act, 2002 (“Act”) and accompanying regulations. The Act itself came into force in phases: the provisions relating to anticompetitive agreements and abuse of dominance becoming operational as of May 20, 2009 and the provisions relating to merger control being notified on June 1, 2011. The competition law regime in India has only been in force for less than three years, with the merger control regime being in force for approximately 18 months.

Despite the relatively nascent merger control regime, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has quickly established its credibility as a regulator, having undertaken several suo motu investigations and examined complaints relating to various sectors (such as cement, tires, steel, coal, aviation, sugar, etc.). They have also passed several orders pertaining to issues such as burden of proof and the establishment of an agreement in the case of cartels and bid-rigging as well as the delineation of the relevant market in abuse of dominance cases. Nevertheless, there remain several unresolved issues, including the lack of guidelines or rationale for the imposition of penalties by the CCI in its orders thus far, the inconsistencies in the approach of the CCI towards the standard of proof to establish a cartel, etc.

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