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The Central government has set up a panel on digital competition law to review the existing antitrust laws in the country that are capable of dealing with the challenges that have emerged from the digital economy, and to submit to the government a draft Digital Competition Act within three months, according to a PTI report.
According to an official order, the panel will be headed by corporate affairs secretary Manoj Govil, along with the Competition Commission of India chairperson. The joint secretary for competition at the MCA will join the committee as a member secretary. The remaining seven members of the committee are from the private sector and various law firms such as Saurabh Srivastava (co-founder industry body Nascomm), Pallavi Shardul Shroff (Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas), Haigreve Khaitan (Khaitan & Co), Anand Pathak (P&A Law Offices),Rahul Rai (Axiom5 Law Chamber), Aditya Bhattacharjea (former professor at the Delhi School of Economics) and Harsha Vardhana Singh (IKDHVAJ Advisers).
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), Niti Aayog, Department of Commerce, Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will also have to nominate representatives to the committee, the report added.
The order further stated that the panel will also examine the need for an ex-ante regulatory mechanism for digital markets through a separate legislation. This has been set up less than two months after a Parliamentary panel proposed having a new digital competition law to curb anti-competitive practices in the digital markets such as the antitrust allegations over big tech companies like Google which has been fined by Competition Commission in India last year for its monopolistic approach over digital market.
“The panel will study the international best practices on regulation in the field of the digital markets as well as other regulatory regimes/ institutional mechanisms/ government policies regarding competition in the digital markets. The practices of leading players or Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs) which limit or have the potential to cause harm in the digital markets will also be looked into by the committee,” the order added.