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Ever Changing Competition Regime - Even in Utopia

The statement that modern Competition Law of the UK after the Second World War was not devoid of the benefits of monopoly and cartelization is not surprising. My response would start with a truth bomb. The royal charter of the East Indian Company gave it the ability to use military force to protect itself and fight rival traders. It had an army twice the size of standing Britain’s trade which was responsible for almost half of Britain’s trade. After the company started abusing its power and rendered financial woes, it was dissolved and the British Crown took direct control of India. To understand the evolution of Competition Law in the UK, it goes way before WWII.

Generally, the law is surmounted on societal values and national interests. Competition Law is also not immune to these ‘dynamic society driven processes’. A full paper has argued that “the inherent scope and nature of modern competition laws are not necessarily as consistent and objective as one might like them to be”. Therefore, the attitude of the UK towards, as per records, was not objective. It was always those who were close to the crown that was favoured. So the Competition Law in the UK evolved from the seeds of aspects which are contrary to the objectives of current notions of Competition Law.

Various instances in UK colonies depict the anti-competitive practices. It is relevant to notice the railways in British India and present India. Nothing has changed substantively. It was or is monopolized by the government. The reasons, however, were different which is entirely a different proposition to research upon, the fact remains the same. To understand further, let’s take the example of MSMEs. There are laws in place which give certain privileges which are mostly procedural. These privileges are contradictory to the objectives of fair competition. Though there is no express provision under the Indian Competition Law to protect MSMEs, the commission is liberal and it interprets the preamble of the Competition Act, 2002 in favour of these entities. This is the notion I am talking about. The words of law may not exactly propound the way enforcement would, because it is so dynamic and the societal norms and national interests are always given primacy in case of Competition Law. This point requires emphasis because none of the other laws enjoys such a rate of evolution. It is not about the number of amendments, rather it is about how such laws are enforced and they keep evolving as the attitude of the society changes.


Ashwin Bala Someshwerar is a 4th year Law student, currently pursuing Law from TNNLU.

You can contact him at:http://www.linkedin.com/in/ashwin-b-310aa1b9

Editor: Rudra Prasad

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