The Competition Commission is not as bad as is portrayed

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Summary“What is very important is the quality of the regulator, the whole principle; architecture ultimately depends on the calibre, quality and the professional capability of those who are going to actually carry on the process of regulation.”

In fact, it has shown a remarkable level of analysis and maturity in its dealings

“What is very important is the quality of the regulator, the whole principle; architecture ultimately depends on the calibre, quality and the professional capability of those who are going to actually carry on the process of regulation.” Thus spoke Ashok Chawla, chairman, Competition Commission of India (CCI) while launching the CUTS/CIRC third biennial report on the State of Competition & Regulation, 2011 in Delhi on December 27. The report inter alia bares the quality of regulation and the independence of regulators, including the competition agency, in India. Perhaps, Mr Chawla was expressing his angst on how they are doing.

The CCI, the acronym for the Competition Commission of India, and not the Cable Corporation of India or several other CCIs, is still the first hit you would find If you were to run a web search for “CCI” to look for this news item. The CCI came into full splendour in 2009, and has made its presence felt ever since. With over 200 orders, it has been anything but a silent spectator to the competition distortive practices across the various sectors of the Indian economy. At a nascent stage still, its orders evince a level of understanding and reasoning of relevant issues that could do with a little more maturing. This is however not true for every case and it gives me great pleasure to speak about some of the orders that have indeed exhibited high standards of analysis.

Competition law is an economic law and thus the ‘rule of reason’ is the standard applied to cases being tried under the law. Unlike other civil laws, it does not operate on a cut-and-dried ‘rule of law’ approach, because of the intricacies of cases that come up. It is therefore a distinct science on the interstice of law and economics.

In a my article ‘Making the case for NSE’ on July 14, 2011 (http://goo.gl/ UG9IZ), I wrote about the order of the CCI on the predatory pricing charge against MCX. While the majority order had some grave errors, the dissenting order was an excellent piece of economic analysis using the latest well-received economic theories that were brought to bear on the case at hand in a highly commendable way. In a more recent piece titled “CCI needs to pull up its socks” (http://goo.gl/OBJS6), I made a case

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