Indian sectoral regulators need to be cognizant of the regulatory boundaries within which they should exercise oversight, Ashok Kumar Gupta, outgoing Chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has said.

Addressing the  52nd Governing Body meeting of the Forum of Indian Regulators (FOIR) here, Gupta, Chairman of FOIR, said that the areas for regulators are fairly demarcated and should work in a symbiotic manner which engenders a comity of regulators.

“Regulatory areas for sectoral regulators and a cross cutting regulator like CCI are fairly demarcated”, Gupta said.

FOIR was established in February 2000 and had as members regulatory bodies such as CCI, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board. FOIR is a common platform for all regulators.

Gupta’s remarks are important  as they remind the regulators that their domain has been well defined and laid by their parent statutes, and they need to remain within their assigned areas.

They are also significant as it comes on the heels of increasing turf wars of an overarching market regulator like CCI with sectoral regulators such as TRAI and SEBI. 

Infact, there is increasing tension among the regulators as there is no resolution mechanism like the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) to sort out the conflicts between sectoral regulators and CCI (except the consultation mechanism provided under Competition Act).

Currently, the mechanism under Competition Act can work only when both parties voluntarily agree to consultation, but there is no solution when the parties put their foot down and remain steadfast on their respective stance on the issue of any turf breach.

It may be noted that the Bombay High Court and Calcutta High Courts are currently examining the regulatory turf issues between CCI and TRAI (on the broadcast matter) and CCI and SEBI in the case of a high profile non-banking finance company. 

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