BML Munjal University, through its School of Law has today unveiled its Centre on Law, Regulation and Technology (CLRT). The launched platform exemplifies the University’s philosophy of enabling students to navigate the myriad impact of technology on socio- economic activities. CLRT aims to contribute to policy discourse through interdisciplinary research, and brings voices of regulators, academia, industry, policymakers, and civil society together. CLRT, under the guidance of The School of Law also hosted a two-day virtual conference titled ‘Unfair business practices of eCommerce platforms and the need for ex-ante regulation for digital markets in India’ on December 4 & 6, 2021 respectively. Prof Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice-chancellor, National Law School of India University, Bangalore delivered the keynote address at the conference.

As nations across the world struggle to harness the benefits of modern technology in the Industrial Revolution 4.0, while attempting to minimize its ill-effects through an optimal legal and regulatory framework, India too is looking for a suitable model to ensure justice and efficiency in digital markets. Post-pandemic restrictions on movement have especially highlighted the potential and risks of technology including its effect on the legal profession itself. Law firms and courts are investing in technology to manage cases, propel research, and draft contracts. Such changes are challenging the traditional modes of delivering legal education. Recently, the University conducted a study on “Legal Curriculum Redesign for the Digital World” capturing leading voices from the profession and universities, which echoed a pressing need to redesign curricula in view of changes brought about by technology. This reinforced the need for augmented adoption of technology in the legal profession and consequently in legal education. Law students of the future must be ‘technology native’, the study concluded. .

Talking about the launch, Dr. Pritam Baruah, Dean of School of Law, BML Munjal University said, “With BMU’s strong emphasis on scientific, creative, and interdisciplinary learning, the university is going to unveil its Centre on Law, Regulation and Technology that meaningfully combines academic research and policy prescriptions. Through this Centre, we endeavour to provide knowledge-based inputs towards evolving regulatory frameworks that ensure welfare on the one hand, and innovation on the other. The Centre would work towards advocating legal and economic regulation that places consumer welfare and innovation at the core of the modern economy.”

Speaking on the regulatory potential of the law in the realm of technology at the conference Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice Chancellor of NLSIU Bangalore said, “There has been a view that ex ante regulation is unnecessary not just because law takes time to catch up with technology, or that law is incapable of catching up with technology. It becomes a more ‘Normative’ argument whether law should be used as these are still not mature technologies and law could act as more of a hindrance here. Similarly, social order can be produced without legal frameworks through firstly, social norms or secondly, through codes like Lex cryptographia which brings transparency and resilience.I congratulate the faculty members of BMU on this initiative which is of enduring and contemporary relevance.”

The two day conference saw enthusiastic participation from both legal academics, social scientists, legal practitioners, and digital policy experts. The panelists included Professor Aditya Bhattacharjea – Senior Professor of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, Prof Simonetta Vezzoso – tenured Professor of competition policy and intellectual property (Professore Aggregato) and senior researcher at Università di Trento, Department of Economics and Management, Professor Rajat Kathuria – Dean, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, and Professor of Economics at the Shiv Nadar University, Dr. Francesco Beneke – Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Dr. Shilpi Bhattacharjea – Professor of Law at Jindal Global Law School, Mr. Arjun Krishnan – Partner, Samvad Partners, Mr. Chanakya Basa – Advocate and Partner, Knock Legal and Mr. Pratik Datta – Senior Research Fellow, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. The distinguished panelists deliberated on the need of regulating digital markets, the nature of regulation, the relevance of the ‘Western’ model of regulation for India and the enforcement challenges of ex ante regulation in India. Through this event and many others that the Centre plans to organize, it endeavours to contribute in an objective and non-partisan way to the policy discourse around critical issues related to modern technology.

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