24/08/17 – SC declares privacy a fundamental right
In a landmark judgement, the SC ruled that the “right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution,”. The implications this will have for India’s Aadhaar program are yet to be fully realised. To read more, click here.
1/09/17 – Supreme Court Affirms Creditor-Friendly Nature of Insolvency Law
The Supreme Court delivered its first substantive ruling under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 in Innoventive Industries Limited v. ICICI Bank. This was related to the first corporate insolvency case to be admitted by the National Company Law Tribunal after the Code came into effect in December 2016. The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the insolvency proceedings mounted by the corporate debtor, Innoventive, and ruled in favour of the financial creditor, ICICI Bank. This clearly was an example of the Court reemphasized the creditor-friendly nature of the Code. To read more on the judgement, click here.
12/08/17 – Right To Life Includes Entitlement To Alternate Accommodation, Says Delhi HC
Reiterating that right to housing is an essential part of right to life which is not merely an animal existence but entitlement to reasonable accommodation, the Delhi High Court has come to the aid of 14 slum dwellers, earlier declared ineligible by. To read more and for a link to the judgement, click here.
14/08/17 – Volkswagen to chart own course in India as Tata Motors deal falls through
Tata and Volkswagen suspended talks of a joint venture which would involve Volkswagen getting access to Tata’s domestic supplier base and their advanced modular platform (AMP). Instead, in a landmark move, the Volkswagen AG board will consider a proposal in September to introduce its Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform in India to substantially boost the German company’s portfolio of cars in India. To read more, click here.
24/07/17- Ola Pumps Rs.100 Crore Into Ola Fleet
Bangalore-based transportation network company, Ola, has recently invested Rs.100 Crore into its car-leasing subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies. The investment comes at time of heated competition for leadership in the market with US-based competitor, Uber. The board of the car-leasing subsidiary accepted the proposal last month, and it is double the amount invested in February.
Under the Ola Fleet programme, drivers could lease a car for a minimal initial deposit and then pay monthly lease payments with an option to own the vehicle after a period of three years. To read more, click here.
01/08/175 – Flipkart completes eBay India Merger
Flipkart completed the takeover of the India operations of eBay.
India’s largest e-commerce marketplace said it will begin offering the global inventory of eBay to Indian consumers while taking the products of thousands of sellers in the country to eBay’s customers globally. The Company raised $1.4 billion from global technology majors eBay, Tencent and Microsoft. In exchange for an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay had made a cash investment and sold its eBay.in business to Flipkart. To read more, click here.
14/07/17 – India considering 100% FDI in multi-brand retail
India is considering a proposal to lift a cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in local supermarkets. The move is a partial reversal of PM Modi’s opposition to foreign retailers as he attempts to create jobs even at the expense of alienating his core support base—traders. Sources said the government is considering permitting foreign supermarket players to open retail stores but only for sale of ‘Made in India’ products. To read more, click here.
22/07/17 – As per RERA, developers will have to give 5-year warranty against structural flaws
RERA has laid down that the liability of developers to provide workmanship for structural defects shall subsist for a period of five years from the date of handover.
This is the first time that such a provision has been introduced.
Given that developers source their raw material from other vendors and delegate the construction to contractors and sub-contractors, there will certainly be a push to ensure back-to-back contractual warranties with suppliers.
To read more, click here.
01/07/17 – GST FORMALLY LAUNCHED IN PARLIAMENT
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) was formally launched at the Central Hall of Parliament at midnight on June 30. GST is an indirect tax throughout India to replace taxes levied by the central and state governments. It was introduced as The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Second Amendment) Act, 2017 and is governed by the GST Council. Under GST, goods and services will be taxed at the following rates, 0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, 28%. The credits of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in each subsequent stage of value addition, which makes GST essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. To read more, click here.
29/06/17 – MCA RELAXES TIME PERIOD FOR NOTIFYING CCI REGARDING COMBINATION
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has notified an amendment regarding the time-period within which a combination is to be notified to the Competition Commission of India. Any individual or enterprise that is party to a combination will be exempted from seeking approval of fair trade regulator CCI within 30 days of finalising the particular deal. The exemption will be in place for five years but will not be available retrospectively. However, enterprises are liable for penalty in case they fail to give notice to the CCI before bringing into effect a particular combination. To read more, click here.
29/06/17 – DIPP ISSUES STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE FOR HANDLING FDI PROPOSALS
Following the winding up of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), the approval FDI applications will now be handled by the Department / Ministry relevant to the particular sector. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has released a standard operating procedure (SOP) specifying time limits and internal mechanisms for processing of FDI proposals. The key highlight of the SOP is that it envisages a time frame of 8 – 10 weeks, depending on requirement of security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs, for approving FDI proposals. To know more, click here.
13/06/17 – MCA NOTIFIES EXEMPTIONS FOR PRIVATE COMPANIES (INCLUDING STARTUPS)
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has exempted private companies in India from the applicability of certain provisions under the Companies Act, 2013 for reduction of compliance requirements. The relaxations brought can only be availed only by such private companies which have not defaulted in filing of their annual return and financial statements. A start-up now need not include cash flow statements in its financial statements going forward and are exempt from holding quarterly board meetings every year. Other highlights include the fast track corporate insolvency process, acceptance of deposits from members and auditor report inclusions. To read more, click here.
26/05/17 – Cabinet abolishes FIPB
The Cabinet has decided to abolish the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and instead route approvals for FDI through individual ministries of the Government, in consultation with the DIPP. The DIPP will issue guidelines and standard operating procedures for processing applications to the various ministries. Approvals are to be expedited with fixed timelines. In case of rejection of applications, the concurrence of DIPP is required. FDI proposals above Rs 5,000 crore would still require clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. This move is welcomed by industry experts to help boost FDI in India. To read more, click here
26/05/17 – NCLAT takes over the Functions of COMPAT as the Government scraps 8 other tribunals
The Government has issued a notification that provides that NCLAT (National Company Law Appellate Tribunal) has taken over the functions of COMPAT (Competition Appellate Tribunal). This change comes under the Finance Act, 2017. The government plans to dissolve 8 appellate tribunals immediately while also making enabling provisions in 17 legislation to bring amendments through notifications. A few of the tribunals which are scrapped are COMPAT, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal and Cyber Appellate Tribunal. To read more, click here.
13/04/17 – RBI Approves Amazon India’s proposal for an e-wallet
The RBI has approved Amazon India’s application for a license to operate its own prepaid instrument or e-wallet. This will help Amazon India to cash in on the booming digital payments market in India and compete more aggressively and on a level playing field with its rivals such as Snapdeal and PayTM. For more on this, click here.
17/04/17- Does Enforcement of a Foreign Arbitral Award violate FEMA?
The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, in the case of Cruz City 1 Mauritius Holdings v. Unitech Limited, held that any foreign arbitral award pertaining to put options, exit at assured return, and guarantee arrangements can be enforced in India and rejected the claims of Unitech Limited, that such an enforcement would be contrary to the public policy of India as it violated the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. Justice Vibhu Bakhru held that the objections to enforcement on the ground of public policy must be such that offend the “core values of a member State’s national policy and which it cannot be expected to compromise”. For more, read here.
07/03/17 – NEW TRADEMARK RULES NOTIFIED
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has notified the new Trade Marks Rules, 2017 thereby replacing the Trade Marks Rules, 2002. The new Rules have come into effect from March 6, 2017 and aim to simplify and streamline the whole trademark filing and prosecution process, by reducing and consolidating the numbers of forms. There has also been categorization of applicants and an e-communication process for faster processing. For more details, read here.
28/03/17- MCA Issues Notification and Relaxes Certain Thresholds for Exemptions under the Competition Act
The MCA has issued a fresh notification under the Competition Act 2002 which provides for an increase in the type of transactions that would be exempt from seeking approval from the Competition Commission of India on the basis of certain de-minimis thresholds. By way of this notification the de-minimis exemption is now applicable in case of acquisitions as well as mergers and amalgamations, which were previously not included. For a detailed analysis, click here.
10/03/17 – RBI opposes Tata-DoCoMo settlement
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the RBI to decide its position in the $1.18-billion arbitration award now sought to be enforced by Japanese telecom major NTT DoCoMo, in line with a settlement agreement reached with Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, by March 14. For more read, here.
09/03/17 – Reliance Industries’ Shares Worth Rs. 50,000 Crore Change Hands On BSE
Nearly 396 million equity shares of Reliance Industries Ltd. representing 12.58% equity of total paid up capital have changed hands on BSE through a block deal in early morning trade. The Company, on March 2, 2017 had informed the stock exchanges that entities forming part of the promoter group of the company intend to acquire from other promoter group entities by way of ‘inter-se’ transfer, up to 1,190 million shares. For more on this, click here.
05/01/17 – Government declares that service charges billed by restaurants will be optional
· The Department of Consumer Affairs announced the ‘service charge’ billed along with the total amount is only ‘optional’ and the customer has the discretion to not pay it. The department said arbitrary levy of this sum in lieu of tips amounts to an unfair trade practice and the consumers can complain about the same at the appropriate forum under the Consumer Protection Act,1986. For more, read here.
10/01/17 – SEZ Rules relaxed to allow foreign entities providing legal and accounting services to operate within them
The Government of India has amended the Special Economic Zone Rules, which could allow legal and accountancy services from foreign entities to operate within Special Economic Zones. Earlier legal and accounting services were explicitly excluded from the definition of ‘services’ under Rule 76 of SEZ Rules, 2006. For more read here and here.
19/12/16 – PayPal v. Paytm
A notice was filed by Silicon-valley based global digital payment giant PayPal with the registrar of copyrights against Paytm over the latter’s trademark application to register its logo. PayPal’s main contention is that the logo sought by Paytm is “deceptively and confusingly similar”. The notice also contended that both names start with the term “Pay” which customers remember more than the second part of the name. Click here to read more.
23/12/16 – Are Independent Company Directors vulnerable in India?
The Tata-Mistry spat and removal of former Board member, Nusli Wadia has resulted in poeple questioning whether independent directors in India are truly independent. In order to remove Mr. Wadia, the Tatas required only a majority win in a special shareholder meeting, in which the dominant shareholder is not barred from voting making it an entirely one-sided fight. For more, read here.
16/12/16 – Parliament passes The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill
On December 16, the The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha following the Rajya Sabha’s assent two days earlier. The Bill will replace the existing Person with Disability Act, 1995 and bring the law in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory. Further, the new law will not only enhance the rights and entitlements of disabled persons but also provide effective mechanisms for ensuring their empowerment and inclusion in society. Click here for more.
7/12/16 – MCA notifies new provisions pertaining to mergers, schemes of arrangement, and winding-up
03/12/16 – 3 ENTITIES BANNED BY SEBI FROM ACTING AS INVESTMENT ADVISORS.
SEBI has barred Operator Tips Global, Saanjh Advisory and their proprietor Mrinal Chadha from acting as investment advisers after finding them guilty of providing unauthorised services to investors. They found that these entities were giving trading tips, stock specific recommendations among others to investors on payment of fees without registering with SEBI. Click here for more.
04/12/16 – NEW PROVISIONS IN BENAMI ACT CAME INTO FORCE ON NOVEMBER 1ST
The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 seeks to give the government powers to confiscate benami properties—assets held in the name of another person or under a fictitious name to avoid taxation and conceal unaccounted-for wealth. The amended Act seeks to remove lacunae in the old legislation and has provisions that make violation of the Act punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine of up to 25% of the fair value of the asset. It also states that properties held benami are liable for confiscation by the government without payment of compensation. Click here for more.
24/10/16 – RBI paves way for start-ups to raise ECB
With a view to boost innovation and promote job creation, the Reserve Bank of India has declared that start-ups can raise External Commercial Borrowings of up to USD 3 million in a financial year. They will be permitted to raise the overseas funds in Indian Rupees, in foreign currency or in a combination of both. For more details, click here.
24/10/16 – RBI permits 100% FDI for more financial services
The RBI has allowed 100% foreign investment through the automatic route to regulated financial services (‘Other Financial Services’) carried out by NBFCs. Such foreign investment would be subject to conditionalities, including minimum capitalisation norms. For more details, click here.
20/09/16- Doctrine of Auto-Block
In a ruling that will have future ramifications, the Supreme Court of India has held that internet search engines operating in India will have to block search results in respect of certain words and phrases, to ensure compliance with Indian laws. The ruling came about in a public interest litigation that sought to curb the practice of pre-conception and pre-natal sex determination, which is illegal in India. Click here for more.
20/09/16 – Copyrights and Fair Use
The Delhi High Court has recently held that photocopying of academic material and creation of photocopied course packs for students would be protected under the fair use exception – “for educational use” – in the Copyright Act, 1957. While the decision has been hailed by the academic community (see here), it is being seen as a set-back for book publishers (see here). The decision is also important because it sought to interpret copyright law and exceptions in the light of India’s socio-economic conditions, rather than follow US jurisprudence on the issue.
14/07/16 – Cabinet approves Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016
In a move that could benefit the retail sector and increase employment opportunities, the Union Cabinet has approved the Model Shops and Establishment (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2016. However, it would become applicable only if and after individual states amend their respective legislations pertaining to shops and establishments along the lines of the Model Bill. As per the provisions of the Model Bill, establishments (not manufacturing units) employing ten persons or more are permitted to have 24/7 working hours. The Model Bill also eases working hour restrictions for highly skilled workers (including those in the software sector). Click here and here for more.
14/07/16- UGC notifies regulations for the prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has notified the University Grants Commission (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015 which, inter alia, require colleges, universities and higher educational institutes to act against all gender-based violence against employees and students of all sexes and also prohibit discriminatory campus rules on grounds of “women’s safety”. Click here and here for related reports.
10/06/16 – Antrix-Devas Deal under the ED and CBI scanner
In addition to imposing a Rs. 1,200 crore FEMA violation notice in the Antrix-Devas deal, the Enforcement Directorate is set to go a step further and attach the assets of the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ED seeks to ensure that the movable and immovable properties of the accused are identified and frozen so as to ensure that they cannot benefit from that which has been illegally obtained. In addition, the CBI is scrutinizing the deal in connection with the allegations of wrongful gain made to Devas by Antrix, which is the commercial arm of ISRO. Click here for more.
12/06/16 – Union Cabinet approves India’s first National IPR Policy
22/05/16 – Special Courts designated for offences under the Companies Act
Taking a significant step towards speedier trials for white-collar crimes, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has decided to designate eight courts as special courts to deal with offences under the Companies Act, 2013. The courts shall exclusively deal with offences under the Act that are punishable for two years or more, according to a notification released by the Ministry. These courts shall be set up in J&K, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal as well as the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. Click here for more.
29/05/2016 – Commercial Courts underway in four States
Reports suggest that Commercial Courts have already begun operating in Delhi, Mumbai, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The introduction of Commercial Courts became a reality after the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 received the President’s assent nearly 5 months ago. The introduction of Commercial Courts in India was welcomed as a positive step for reducing the backlog of cases and ensuring speedy redressal of disputes. The move is being heralded within the legal fraternity as a step in the right direction. Click here for more.
10/05/16 – SIAC finds former Ranbaxy promoters guilty of misrepresentation
In a case that highlights the importance of representations and disclosures made during a share purchase transaction, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre has passed an award holding that former promoters of Ranbaxy, Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh would be liable to pay an aggregate amount of Rs. 2,562.78 crore by way of damages to Daiichi Sankyo for misrepresenting and concealing facts related to an ongoing US Food and Drug Administration investigation, during Daiichi’s buyout of their stake in Ranbaxy for $2.4 billion in 2008. Click here for more.
10/05/16 – US Supreme Court redraws the boundaries of ‘fair use’
The contours of ‘fair use’ in copyright law were further defined when the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal filed by the Authors Guild against an order of the Court of Appeals holding that the display of searchable snippets of books by Google (after scanning the same) would not amount to copyright infringement. The fact that Google merely enabled users to search for a particular book with ease – and did not make the entire book available for users – seems to have tilted the balance in Google’s favour. Click here for more.
02/05/16 – US Judiciary slaps huge fine on TCS
In a judgement that is of significant interest to the Indian software industry (and any entity that has access to its client’s confidential information), the US judiciary has slapped a huge fine of $940-million on Tata Consulting Services (“TCS”) for violating its confidentiality obligations to one of its US clients in the healthcare software sector. The case underlines the need for companies to strictly implement their legal and contractual obligations in respect of clients’ confidential information and take requisite steps to prevent unauthorized access thereto and / or disclosure thereof, even if the same is amongst company employees. Click here for more.
02/05/16 – RERA is now a reality
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has issued a notification by which most provisions of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 have come into force from May 01, 2016. With this, state governments are now required to (i) set up the Real Estate Regulatory Authority for their respective states within a period of 12 (twelve) months; and (ii) make rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act within a period of 6 (six) months. It may be noted that provisions of the Act under which a builder is required to register with the concerned Real Estate Regulatory Authority are yet to the notified. Click here for more.
14/04/16 – The quest to bring the koh-i-noor back to India continues
The All India Human Rights & Social Justice Front has filed a PIL before the Supreme Court of India seeking a writ of mandamus to the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom for returning the Koh-i-Noor diamond. The Supreme Court bench sought the views of the solicitor general on the matter, who requested for time to seek instructions from the government before responding. Read here and here, to examine the legality of the claim.
01/04/16 – DIPP issues new game-changing guidelines on FDI in e-commerce
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has recently issued guidelines to clarify the FDI Policy pertaining to e-commerce. These guidelines distinguish between the marketplace model and the inventory-based model of e-commerce and clarify that, while 100% FDI is permitted under the automatic route in the former, no FDI is permitted in the latter. The guidelines also stipulate other conditions to be followed by “e-commerce entities”. Click here and here, to read more about the impact of these guidelines. Also, click here to read about its specific impact on Amazon.
18/03/16 – Italy set to become second European nation to clamp down on food wastage
In the wake of pioneering legislation passed in France to restrict food wastage, Italy is following suit, as it looks poised to pass a law that will compel supermarkets to donate any unused food to charities as opposed to disposing of the same.
Rather than impose fines, the Italian government’s strategy is to create an incentive structure, providing tax benefits to any Italian bar, restaurant or supermarket seeking to donate its unused food.
Considering that food wastage is a widespread problem in India and the government has considered measures to tackle the same in the past, it will be interesting to see if India too introduces a legislation or may be, administrative regulations, to reduce food wastage.
21/03/16 – Lok Sabha passes Aadhar Bill
In a significant move, the Lok Sabha has passed the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 as a money bill, rejecting the recommendations made by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill aims to promote good governance through targeted delivery of government subsidies, by assigning “residents” (and not, “citizens”) a unique identification number called the Aadhaar Number. Every resident shall be entitled to obtain an Aadhaar Number. However, an Aadhaar Number is not mandatory to avail subsidies and in the absence of an Aadhaar Number, the Bill provides that an individual should be offered an alternate and viable means of identification.
The Bill has been passed in the backdrop of many legal challenges to the implementation of the preceding Aadhaar scheme (that operated under an executive order) on grounds of privacy and security, including a petition pending before the Supreme Court. Click here, for an article on various legal issues pertaining to the Aadhaar Bill.
11/03/16 – Rajya Sabha passes landmark Real Estate Bill
The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, pending before the Rajya Sabha since 2013, has finally been passed. The legislation seeks to establish a Real Estate Regulatory Authority to protect the interests of consumers by increasing efficiency, bringing about transparency and providing for accountability. By regulating the real estate sector, the law aims at enhancing the credibility of the real estate sector and encourage inflow of investments. According to a press release issued by the government, the real estate sector is the second largest employer in the country (the first being agriculture). Click here for an article on the salient features of the Real Estate Bill. Click here for an analysis of the Centre’s legislative competence to pass a Bill relating to real estate.
11/03/16 – Finance Bill to amend Foreign Contributions Regulation Act
By an amendment to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (“FCRA”), the Finance Bill, 2016 removes subsidiaries of foreign companies from the definition of “foreign source” under the FCRA. As a result, such subsidiaries are no longer bound by the provisions of the FCRA in carrying out their CSR activities and may even make political contributions. It is interesting to note that this amendment would be effective from the effective date of the parent Act itself, i.e. from September 26, 2016, in effect regularising earlier violations. Click here for a legal analysis of the amendment to the FCRA.
09/03/16 – India taken to ICJ by Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands, a sprawling archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean has instituted proceedings against India (in addition to the UK and Pakistan) for an alleged breach of customary law obligations flowing from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Islanders claim the nuclear testing before 1958 have had significant health impacts on their population. For more click here and here.
07/03/16 – UN says proposed EU-Turkey Refugee Deal is in violation of Human Rights Law
The UN’s refugee agency, i.e. the UNHCR has criticised the EU for proposals to send refugees en masse to Turkey. Turkey has openly expressed its willingness to accommodate refugees that enter Europe from Turkey in return for money, opening of EU Membership talks and visa reforms. Human rights experts and NGOs have unanimously condemned the proposal as a flagrant violation of International Law. For more on this, click here.
28/01/16 – MCA Publishes Draft Companies (Cost, Record and Audit) Rules
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently published draft rules in respect of (i) compromises, arrangements and amalgamations; (ii) prevention of oppression and mismanagement; and (iii) the procedure to be followed by the National Companies Law Tribunal and the National Companies Law Appellate Tribunal. The public was invited to send in suggestions and comments in respect of the same on or before February 17, 2016.
08/01/16 – TRAI Rules Against Differential Pricing
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has, on February 08, 2016, ruled against differential pricing for Internet services with immediate effect and held that no service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services based on content. This ruling comes as a major setback to Facebook Inc.’s plan to provide selective access to free Internet to the masses in India under its ‘Free Basics’ Programme. Any violation of the TRAI order by a service provider would give rise to a penalty of Rs 50,000 for each day of contravention. Click here to read more.
10/02/16 – Delhi High Court Rules the Woman can be considered ‘Karta’
The Delhi High Court has recently ruled that even a female member of a Hindu undivided family can be its ‘karta’. This ruling came in a suit filed by the eldest daughter of a business family staking claim to be its “karta” on the passing of her father and three uncles. Click here for the judgment and here for a report on the same.
02/02/16 – Recommendations of the Companies Law Committee look to an investor-friendly future
The Companies Law Committee submitted its report (“Report”) on February 1, 2016, wherein it advocated 100 amendments to the Companies Act, 2013 (“Act”), which would effectuate changes in 78 sections and 50 rules of the Act. The changes recommended by the Report, if given effect to, would eliminate a number of practical difficulties that plague the corporate world on a daily basis. The proposed amendments would work to simplify, inter alia, the incorporation of companies, the mechanism of private placement, removal of restrictions on the layers of subsidiaries and investment companies and the disclosure requirements of Companies. The Report has been hailed by a number of industry heads and fore-runners as being a harbinger of change, working towards making India a more investor friendly destination in the near future
07/01/2016 – Marketplace model not recognised under India’s FDI policy: DIPP
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has told the Delhi High Court that the FDI Policy of India does not recognize the ‘marketplace model’ widely used by e-commerce companies. The DIPP further suggested it was up to the government to check any possible violations in this regard. In the meantime, the government has dropped the idea of defining ‘marketplace’, continuing to cast a web of uncertainty over this popular model and its possible legal ramifications.
06/01/2016 – Lodha Committee recommends move to legalise betting and criminalise match-fixing in cricket.
The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee in its report has recommended the legalisation of betting in Indian cricket as the lesser of two evils. While drawing a clear distinction between betting and match/spot-fixing, the Committee has recommended that the legislature, by way of enacting appropriate legislation, set up various safeguards for placing checks and balances in the decriminalized betting industry. Such safeguards are in the nature of regulatory watchdogs being put in place to oversee the betting industry; regular audit of financials of persons associated with the sport; licensing and registration of persons participating in betting activities; and strict penal sanction instituted for any transgression of the legislation promulgated in this regard.
Betting by all persons associated with the sport in any way including players, administrators, owners etc. shall continue to remain an offence. In this context, an article analysing the legal aspects of betting can be accessed here.
05/01/2016 – Best of 2015!
Best of 2015! Here is a compilation summarizing 25 of the most notable judgments delivered by the Supreme Court of India in 2015, ranging from the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act being held unconstitutional to Section 66A of the Information Technology Act being struck down.
04/01/2016 – Monkey cannot own IP rights to the pictures it snapped on stolen camera, rules U.S judge.
In a judgement that was a significant setback for primate intellectual property rights, US District Judge William Orrick adjudged that the monkey that stole a British photographer’s camera during a shoot in the jungles of Indonesia, and snapped multiple selfies, cannot own the IP rights to the same. The lawsuit was brought by PETA who was seeking monetary damages on behalf of Naruto, the monkey. Click here to find out how the saga unfolded.
25/12/2015 – Competition Appellate Tribunal sets aside the penalty on cement companies
The RBI has given the nod and approved the license for Amazon India to operate its own Pre-Paid Instrument or commonly referred to as e-wallet. This recent approval will help Amazon India to cash in on the booming digital payments market in India and help it compete more aggressively and on a level playing field with its rivals such as Snapdeal and PayTM.
The Competition Appellate Tribunal has recently set aside the penalty of Rs. 6,316.59 crore earlier imposed on eleven cement companies by the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) and directed the CCI to hear the matter afresh. The CCI had passed the order after investigating into complaints of price cartelisation by the cement companies. Read here for more details.
20/12/2015 – Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015 passes Parliament
The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill, 2015 has been passed in the current session of the Parliament, replacing the ordinance promulgated earlier to amend the law relating to the territorial jurisdiction for filing cheque dishonour cases. Click here for a brief report.
15/12/2015 – Paris Agreement adopted unanimously at COP21
In an historic step forward for the environment and the future of the planet, the Paris Agreement was adopted unanimously at the plenary session of the COP21 with both India and China exhibiting cautious optimism. Salient features include: (i) common but differentiated policies that give developing countries a cushion; (ii) developed nations being required to raise $100 billion annually to help developing countries; and (iii) nations being required to strongly pursue efforts to ensure that temperature rises are kept under the threshold of 1.5 degrees C. Read the full Agreement here.
08/12/2015 – Draft E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2015
It is six months since the draft E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2015 were published by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, seeking public comments and suggestions. These Rules, which will replace The E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, are seen as a step forward, as they provide for the inclusion of new stakeholders, including manufacturers, producers, dealers and refurbishers. Click here for an analysis of the new Rules.
25/11/2015 – Parliament’s Winter Session 2015
The winter session of the Parliament is expected to vote on many important bills, such as the Constitutional amendment to permit Goods & Services Tax (GST), the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act and also pass ordinances already promulgated to set up commercial courts, amend the Arbitration & Conciliation Act and the Negotiable Instruments Act. Click here to get a gist of these pending bills.
26/11/2015 – AIF norms may let in foreign funds for restricted sectors
Has the government negated all restrictions in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy by treating investments by Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) having Indian managers on par with domestic investments? Is this deliberate or inadvertent? Read on for more here
01/11/15 – Relaxed norms for external commercial borrowing by the RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed norms for External Commercial Borrowings (ECB) by reducing end-use restrictions and expanding the list of overseas lenders. These modifications will, however, take effect upon publication in the official gazette. Read on for details here
28/10/15 – Oscar Pistorius held guilty for Murder by South African Appeal Court
Recently, the top appeals court in South Africa has modified the conviction of Olympic “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius from culpable homicide to murder, on grounds that the lower court had misinterpreted the relevant laws and incorrectly appreciated the circumstantial evidence. Read on for more details here.