Digital Competition Law must be made proactive
The antitrust battleground for big tech is expanding beyond the US and Europe. With multi-million dollar fines and business changing directions imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Google and MakeMyTrip, India is set to take centre stage and play a decisive role in determining the course of the Tech Industry. In so doing, the CCI has acknowledged the unique challenges of the digital markets and implemented legal principles that go beyond traditional competition frameworks. India’s existing competition law framework, the Competition Act, 2002 (as amended), operates on an ‘ex-post’ basis, meaning that it only takes action against companies after they have engaged in anti-competitive practices, potentially after the damage has already occurred. With the growing prominence of digital markets in India, doubts have arisen regarding whether such measures lead to effective regulation, prompt market corrections, and the welfare of consumers, all of which are crucial objectives of a robust competition law system. This led to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance (Committee) presenting its Report on ‘Anti-competitive Practices by Big Tech Companies’ (Report) in December 2022. The Report, among other things, recommended the introduction of an ex-ante regime through a new ‘Digital Competition Act’ (DCA), in line with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), to ensure a “fair, transparent and contestable digital ecosystem” in-sync with the country’s evolving start-up ecosystem and global policies.
Please click here to read the full article by Sidharrth Shankar and Vaibhav Chouksi, published in The Daily Pioneer.