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Forum shopping in regulation debated in India

If not for a degree of regulatory duplication, it’s possible that the AT&T breakup that transformed the entire telecom environment would not have happened. On the other hand, it’s the general competition regulator who did the job that the sector regulator failed to do. Nevertheless, countries that have limited human resources to deliver effective regulation and have a need for certainty, cannot afford duplication and forum shopping.

Here is an interesting reflection from Payal Malik and a colleague on the current situation in India:

The Supreme Court in Subrata Roy Sahara vs Union of India lamented the posturing antics of litigants aimed at forum shopping. It has stated that such antics result in cases “which ought to have been settled in no time at all, before the first court of incidence, [being] prolonged endlessly, for years and years, and from court to court, upto the highest court”. This message should not be lost on the high courts which, by admitting competition matters, contribute to prolonging a pattern of illegitimate claims that should be ideally settled by the CCI.

The new government needs to focus its reform agenda to address such regulatory duplicity to create a more enabling business environment for industry. A governance reform agenda built on the expectation that regulated markets will deliver growth requires such reforms to trickle down to the new-age independent sectoral regulators. Without eliminating regulatory chaos, delivering on the expectations of India’s polity will be difficult.

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