Book Review Competition Law

Title of the Book: Competition Law

Author: Dr. Avtar Singh, Advocate, Ex-Reader in Law, Lucknow University & Dr. Harpreet Kaur, Professor, National Law University Delhi

Edition:First Edition, Student Edition, 2012

Publication House: Eastern Book Company (P) Ltd., 34A, Lalbagh, Lucknow-226001

ISBN – 13: 9789350286661

ISBN – 10: 93-5028-666-1

Price: Rs. 475

Review By: Dr. Ashish Kumar Srivastava, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Lucknow, Lucknow

An effective competition policy promotes the creation of a business environment which improves static and dynamic efficiencies and leads to efficient resource allocation, and in which the abuse of market power is prevented mainly through competition. Open competitive markets are the engine of economic growth. The biggest challenges to competition are anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominance and formation of corporate combinations which hampers the competition and promotes concentration of wealth, monopoly and stop the competition. Anti-competitive agreements mainly the cartel has high tendency of causing appreciable adverse effect on competition. Cartel which is mainly an anti-competitive agreement has been given due attention by competition authorities in the Act of 2002.

The Competition Act was passed to replace the Monopoly & Restrictive Trade Practices Act of 1969 (MRTP). The new Act has many objectives to fulfill. The few of them are to protect the interests of consumers, to promote and sustain competition in the market, to control an appreciable adverse effect over the competition (AAAEC), to provide even playing field to market players by ensuring freedom of trade and to establish Competition Commission of India. The backbone of the Act is AAAEC which is covered in section 3, 4 and 5 of the Act. The section 3 deals with anti-competitive agreement which is horizontal and vertical agreements to eliminate competition in the market. Section 4 deals with abuse of dominance of enterprise in the market. Section 5 deals with corporate combinations via merger and amalgamation which result in AAAEC. The competition commission of India in section 19 and 20 investigates cases covered under section 3, 4 and 5 and take appropriate measures.

The book on ‘Competition Law’ by Dr. Avtar Singh and Dr. Harpreet Kaur is a classic work on the subject which contributes sumptuously to the academic world. Dr. Avtar Singh has a huge expertise in the area of commercial laws. He has been Reader in University of Lucknow, Ex-visiting Professor in IIM Lucknow and has many legal classics to his credit. Dr. Harpreet Kaur is a Professor of Business Laws in National Law University Delhi.

The book is divided in ten chapters. The brief mentioning of treatment of contents in the chapters shall not be out of place. Chapter I entitled as ‘Preliminary’ introduces the subjects’ deals with the reasons of repealing of MRTP Act, 1969. It details out the basic scheme of the Act, competition policy of India and objectives of Competition Act, 2002. Chapter II deal with prohibition, abuse of dominance and regulation of combination which is the life-line of the subject. The section 3 which is devoted to anti-competitive agreements has been covered very lucidly with the help of European, American, British and Indian case-laws. Vertical and horizontal agreements have been detailed out very sanely and simply by the seasoned authors. Cartels, resale price maintenance, refusal to deal have been explained wonderfully. Dominant position and predatory pricing has been explained in an effective manner by having a comparative analysis of the provisions of MRTP with the Competition Act. Unfair Trade practice under the old Act has been explained fully and it helps the reader to draw an analogy to new Act. Chapter III & IV deals with competition commission of India, its power, duties and functions. Post liberalization in all regulators one finds one thing in common and that is that all such institutions are confluence of executive, judicial and legislative organs of the state. Recent case laws upto 2010 have been added in chapter IV which makes the book up to date on the issue of investigation, and punishment of the players of market who flout the norms and bring AAAEC in the market and thereby stop the market to be a free market controlled and governed by market forces. Investigation, measures, penalty, interim measures, extra-territorial features, commission to be a civil court and ancillary powers needed for investigations are discussed in this chapter. Chapter V deals with duties of Director General, chapter VI deals with penalties, and Chapter VII deal with competition advocacy for effective and hassle-free policy making. While chapter VIII deals with finance, accounts and audits, chapter IX with Competition Appellate Tribunal and Chapter X with miscellaneous provisions.

The achievement of the books is its simplicity and lucidity. The issues of competition law known as anti-trust law in US is quiet complex due to variety of reasons and explaining them is not a child’s play especially the cartels. The book is a sincere attempt of the authors to keep pace with the changing policies of government in a post liberalization era which led to passing of Competition Act. Dr. Avtar Singh is a well-known author on MRTP for more than three decades so he is the right person to tell us more about the competition as the subject is just a jurisprudential variation of the MRTP. The book is unique for law students, academicians, practitioners and members of legal fraternity and most importantly the common man who often falls prey in the hands of suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, distributers who eliminate competition from the market by adopting practices having an appreciable adverse effect on competition.