November 5, 2014—India’s competition authority is maturing, according to Ram Tamara, Jincy Elizabeth Francis, and Nandita Jain. In The Handbook of Competition Economics 2015, a publication of the Global Competition Review, the three economists describe how decisions by the Competition Commission of India and regulatory revisions by the Competition Appellate Tribunal in 2014 signal improvements in enforcement approaches, analysis, and methods.
CCI and COMPAT, for example, have become more rigorous in their approach to investigations and rulings on anticompetitive conduct. In recent rulings involving the steel and asbestos industries CCI has required direct evidence of collusion as well as circumstantial and economic evidence. COMPAT—in greatly reducing CCI’s fine of explosive manufacturers—asserted that fines must be reasonable in amount and should consider mitigating factors. The authors say that these developments are “a step in the right direction” toward consistency in rulings and “rationalization of fines.”
Another good sign is CCI’s flexibility in defining relevant markets—demonstrated in the Intel abuse of dominance investigation—and COMPAT’s close attention to market type and structure in determining the existence of discriminatory pricing and abuse of dominance (Schott Glass v Kapoor Glass).
CCI’s objectivity and use of best practices in investigating mergers and acquisitions in the cement industry and the airline industry also signals a maturing approach to competition regulation in India. In March 2014, CCI amended regulations governing merger and acquisition filings, exemptions, and appeals, bringing much needed clarity for all parties.