Thursday, February 14, 2008

Competition Act: Cementing Law and Policy

Rahul Singh, who will be contributing to this blog, has written in Livemint about the adverse effects of the delay in notification the provisions of the Competition Act. To enunciate this point, he uses the example of the rise in cement prices, which had to be arrested through the threat of takeover by a state government.

Another aspect that Rahul alludes to is the role that consumers must play in the implementation of competition law and policy:

“The agency to detect and enforce the competition law against unscrupulous companies must also partly lie with the consumers. After all, ordinary consumers are the ones shelling out their hard-earned money in order to purchase goods and services. This is exactly what the new competition law envisages. Unlike the ambiguous Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (proposed to be replaced), the new legislation stipulates an empowered role to be played by ­consumers.

In order to get over the diffused power of consumers, they need incentive to file cases. A robust mechanism ensuring compensation promises to do the same. Companies, of course are loath towards this. They wish to carry on business as usual. This is perhaps the strongest reason why business lobbies have successfully stalled implementation of the competition law so far.”

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