[Aaditya Ranbir Sahgal, a student at the National Law University, Jodhpur, writes on the leniency regime under Indian competition law, the problems associated with it and possible solutions for improvement.]

Abstract

Cartelization affects the overall competitive nature of a market, acting to the detriment of the consumers and competitors outside of the cartel. It has been noted as a serious form of antitrust violation and is dealt with strictly, all around the world. However, cartels are often hard to detect, and in some instances harder to prove to exist. This is owing to measures taken specifically to avoid the existence of a cartel, as has been noted by the Competition Commission of India. One of the most effective means of cartel enforcement around the world is introducing leniency programs. However, leniency programs for cartels have become one of the most effective means in cartel-enforcement, around the world. This, however, cannot be conclusively said for the Indian leniency regime. This paper seeks to analyze the Indian leniency regime, the problems faced by it and the manners in which it can be improved. In order to do so, firstly, all 14 applications for leniency adjudicated upon in 4 cartelization matters by the Competition Commission of India have been analyzed. Secondly, reference has been made to the leniency regime in the United States of America and an analysis of the leniency regime in the European Union has been carried out. Both these jurisdictions have two of the most effective competition regulation regimes in the world. This has been done to see what lessons the Competition Commission of India can learn to effectively employ a tool recognized as one of the most effective means of busting cartels.