The need for patience

Author: | Published: 1 Aug 2012
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What are the key responsibilities of your role?

I generally advise on all legal and commercial matters of the company including litigation or mitigation measures.

What many lawyers work in-house at JSW Steel?

We have 15 lawyers working in-house at JSW Steel.

To what extent do you outsource legal work and to which law firms?

We outsource for litigation more than for non-litigation, but we are limited to requirements as we believe in developing in-house competencies.

What are the major competition issues that your company faces?

We have had some enquiries about alleged price-fixing. A complaint was received by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) stating that various steel companies were indulging in cartelisation. The Director General (DG) investigated and found that there was price parallelism, but cartelisation was not established in the subsequent DG report. After hearing the parties, the judicial member closed the file while the majority of the remaining six members directed the DG to carry out further investigations and submit its report.

How robust is the merger control regulation that took effect in June 2011?

It was a great development and it is an area that is rapidly changing to accommodate the needs of time.

How successful have corporations in India been in embracing a competition law mindset?

Indian corporates have not been very successful. It will take some more time for them to fully understand the subject and its effects. Indian corporates have not yet come out of their mindset of not so stringent monopolistic and restrictive acts, in which the maximum punishment is a cease and desist order. Therefore, the seriousness of competition law, its extra-territorial jurisdiction, and the compliance programme required to tune organisations is not yet there in most Indian corporates. They are required to improve on this. Our Competition Act, being based on the EU model, works on equity principles of the common law system when tested before the court. Therefore, jurisprudence is required to be developed and this will emerge with the passage of time. The CCI follows very strict rules, sometimes overlooking justice, while the courts follow equity and justice. To that extent, there is a mismatch.

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