RSI2023 | The Regulatory State in India

Course Information

  • 2023-24
  • RSI2023
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M., Master's Programme in Public Policy
  • III, IV, V
  • July 2023
  • Elective Course

This course seeks to provide an overview of the history and evolution of regulatory theory in general before focusing on how the theory and practice of regulation has evolved in India. It thus has a dual focus: on developments in the comparative and global arena, as well as on those that have had a domestic impact on policy-making and policy choices within India.

Although the field of regulation has a core economic basis, the role of law has also been vital to its evolution. This course seeks to chart that trajectory at a broad conceptual level while also focusing on specific sectors to draw insights for the practice of regulation. A significant part of the course will chart the intellectual history of ideas in relation to regulation. In that sense, this course is an interdisciplinary one, as it tracks history, comparative experiences and theoretical premises of regulation across economics and law. The course will focus on phases of regulation in India across its post-colonial journey, emphasising the importance of the 1947-1991 and post 1991 eras. We will focus on several sectors in this course with case studies of India’s electricity and telecom sectors. Students will be encouraged to write research papers on these and other sectors, enabling an overview of regulatory policy in discrete and significant areas of the Indian political economy.

The course is designed for LLB, MPP and LLM students. Pre-requisites for this course include core courses on constitutional and administrative law as well as specialised courses in the third year of the 5 year LL.B programme. Only Year 4 and 5 students from the 5 year programme are eligible to apply. MPP students who have done the core course on regulation in the MPP programme are eligible to take this course.

This is a course designed for those who want to write a good research paper. The assessment modes are therefore suitably designed for this purpose.

The course is divided into four separate units, details of which are included below:

Teaching method, class preparation and class participation: This module will be conducted as a discussion-based seminar. Students are expected to come to class after adequate preparation that enables a robust discussion of the readings. There will no lectures as part of this course: all our time will be spent discussing and debating issues covered in the readings. At the start of each class, I will hold a ‘clarification space’ where I will ask students to ask questions about facts and analysis which requires further elaboration. This course will appeal to those who value ‘teaching by conversation’ and value the insights of their peers studying alongside them.

Since the readings are a pre-requisite for grasping the content of each class, they have been carefully pruned. The hope is that they are accessible, provocative and yet capable of stimulating reflection and debate. Class participation starts before you come to class, with having done the readings and having thought about what seems illuminating and insightful, what seems wrong, and where the authors’ arguments are simply unclear.



Dr. Arun K. Thiruvengadam

Professor of Law