1 DAY SEMINAR ON COMPETITION LAW AND POLICY: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES | CENTRE FOR COMPETITION LAW

ABOUT WBNUJS AND CENTRE FOR COMPETITION LAW

The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (WBNUJS) is a premier National Law University consistently ranked as one of India’s top legal educational institutions. It was established under the WBNUJS Act, 1999 (West Bengal Act IX of 1999). It is a university within the meaning of subsection (f) of Section 2 and Section 12- B of the UGC Act, 1956, and has permanent affiliation from the Bar Council of India. Over the years, NUJS has produced several outstanding lawyers and scholars. With a rich set of faculty and students from diverse backgrounds, drawn from almost all corners of India, the academic community of the law school has made a name for itself in more than one field of law. This establishes an aura of excellence, devotion to the highest standards of academic integrity, and commitment to duty of service to one and all. The Chief Justice of India is the Chancellor of NUJS and is also the Chairman of the General Council, the supreme policy-making body of the University. Under the current guidance of its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) Nirmal Kanti Chakrabarti, one of the most respected and renowned legal scholars in India and backed by a rich and diverse faculty, the University strives to continue with its history of merit in various domains of law. The Centre for Competition Law [CCL] NUJS is a specialized research Centre, established to carry out research on Competition law, policy, and related issues. The CCL works in collaboration with the Competition Commission of India on various projects. For more information, please visit the official website of NUJS at www.nujs.edu.

ABOUT SOCIETY FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND COMPETITION LAW

The Society for International Trade and Competition Law (‘SITC’) is an academic society ofthe West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (‘WBNUJS’), Kolkata. Its aim is to increase the awareness with respect to the two legal fields of competition and international trade law among law students and the public at large. It is also our aim to become the first information portal in India for tracking developments in the fields of competition and trade law. The SITC blog, which is run by the members of the society is a sincere attempt to keep you updated about the various developments in the field of international trade and competition laws in India and abroad. We hope this endeavour serves to be of immense utilityto students, academicians as well as legal practitioners. In the absence of any quality blog or any other source exclusively dedicated to these areas in India, we at SITC felt the need totake the initiative to make a repertoire of information and diverse opinions on major and not so major issues, both legal and commercial. The society also endeavours at creating awareness about various contemporary issues concerning trade and competition by organising workshops, seminars, lectures, training programmes and by encouraging the legal community to engage with the issues by organising essay competitions and paper presentations regularly. Apart from this the SITC also boasts of having assisted the Government of India in formulating certain policies involving competition law aspects.

BACKGROUND OF THE COMPETITION ACT, 2002

The 1980s and 1990s were a pivotal decade in India, owing to the implementation of new economic policies and the opening up of the Indian market to the rest of the globe. The New Economic Policy of 1991, which resulted in the Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation of the Indian Economy, gradually increased the space for market forces while decreasing the involvement of government in business and other economic sectors. It was also realised that a new competition law was needed because the old Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) had become obsolete in some ways and that the focus needed to move from preventing monopolies to encouraging competition in the Indian market. In 1999, a high-level group was formed to propose a contemporary competition law that would be in step with international developments and suitable for Indian conditions. The committee suggested that the MRTP Act be repealed and the MRTP Commission be wound up, as well as the enactment of a new competition statute, the Competition Act, and the establishment of a competition body, the Competition Commission of India. It also suggested that further improvements in government policies be implemented as the foundation for a new competition policy and law.

CONFERENCE THEME-COMPETITION LAW AND POLICY: CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES.

The business environment has altered dramatically both worldwide and in India after the adoption of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘Competition Act’) and mostly after the pandemic. More and more businesses are operating in the virtual world, and fresh business models are emerging that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. The rapid pace of innovation in high-tech disruptive market places have created new challenges for competition law, challenging established definitions of terms like, “market”, “monopoly”, “dominance” and “agreement”. Given rapid technological advancements, it is imperative that competition law evolves to address challenges posed by them. The objective of the present seminar is to understand the contemporary challenges in the field of competition law.

SUB THEMES:

Big Data: Emerging Concerns under the Competition Law

The blast in the innovation and web fields worldwide has sped up the development of the advanced economy. This has fundamentally helped the system gather, handle, and economically take advantage of the data in possession of huge companies and even new businesses. Generally alluded to as ‘big data, the idea alludes to vast volumes of an assortment of data gathered at high speed and handled by figuring programming to create unique datasets with tremendous business esteem. This conference aims to answer whether the access and use of big data by enterprises can confer them with market power and a competitive advantage over their competitors and how the present laws deal with this situation.

Cartels and their Regulation during the Pandemic

In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries are likely to face “overcapacity”, a situation where the industry is designed to supply more than what is consumed. This is structural in nature and cannot be remedied by the interplay of market forces alone. In such times, market players, instead of altering their capacity in line with the market’s demand, may continue production in full-scale in an attempt to induce rivals to exit the market. Persistent overcapacity of this nature, if left unaddressed, will result in over-investment of capital, over-employment, reduced returns for producers, and failure to achieve efficiency. The conference aims to discuss the reasons behind cartelization and its effect during a crisis like the recent Covid pandemic. It also seeks to discuss possible ways of combating cartelization during the pandemic.

Digital Markets & Online Platforms regulation under Competition law

Across jurisdictions, antitrust regulators and competition policymakers are grappling with how to establish a competitive, safe, and fair online environment that also safeguards the rights of an individual. The disruptive effects of emerging technologies have called for revisiting the foundations of antitrust law.

This conference aims to analyze how competition law and policy in digital markets have a role to play in ensuring that these markets deliver the best outcomes for all participants in the digital economy, including consumers and online platforms.

Interface of Competition law with other Legislations

The Indian competition law regime envisages a Competition Commission of India vide the Competition Act, 2002 as the sole antitrust regulator. After the 1991 market liberalization reforms, several sector-specific regulators emerged on the Indian regulatory horizon, established through their parent legislations. Due to the presence of such sector-specific legislations, many a time, they regulate similar aspects of a corporate transaction. The conference intends to stimulate discussion on how the Competition Act, 2002 and other legislations interact with each other by focusing on conflicting objectives of the Competition Act, 2002 and other legislations, and on the role of the Competition Commission of India, the Parliament, and the Judiciary.

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE

● Patron-in-Chief: Prof. (Dr.) Nirmal Kanti Chakrabarti, Vice-Chancellor, The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences.
● Director of the Program: Prof. (Dr.) Tilottama Raychaudhuri, Prof. (Dr.) Shouvik Kr. Guha.
● Student Coordinators: Aditya Kishore, Istela Jameel, Srihitha Vala, (BA. LLB Hons.).
● Email Ids: sitc@nujs.edu, tilottama@nujs.edu, aditya219059@nujs.edu, istela218022@nujs.edu, vala218120@nujs.edu.

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