India updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Khaitan & Co
Challenging appointment of an arbitrator: legal position
  • India
  • November 09 2017

The Supreme Court recently set out the legal position regarding challenges to a person's possible appointment as an arbitrator. It held that since ineligibility goes to the root of the appointment, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 clarifies that if the arbitrator falls under any of the categories specified in the Seventh Schedule, he or she becomes ineligible to act as an arbitrator. However, if the circumstances fall under the Fifth Schedule, the person would not be de jure ineligible.

Interim orders in international commercial arbitrations – an Indian perspective
  • India
  • August 10 2017

By way of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015, the government sought to reform the law in relation to international commercial arbitrations conducted in India and foreign-seated international commercial arbitrations. Following recent judgments from the Delhi High Court and the Bombay High Court, it is timely to analyse the amendment act with reference to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law on international commercial arbitration.

Two-tier arbitration clauses
  • India
  • May 04 2017

The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that Indian arbitration law does not specifically prohibit two-tier arbitration clauses which provide for appellate review of an arbitral award by a subsequent arbitration. This judgment is an important win for party autonomy in India and sends a pro-arbitration message.

Applicability of arbitration amendments
  • India
  • March 30 2017

The Delhi High Court recently clarified the scope and interpretation of Section 26 of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015. The Delhi High Court held that if arbitration was commenced before October 23 2015, the amendment act does not apply to the court proceedings for setting aside an arbitral award rendered in relation to such proceedings.

Significance of independence and impartiality in constitution of arbitral tribunals – critical analysis
  • India
  • December 22 2016

The independence and impartiality of arbitral tribunals is significant in order to encourage faith and trust in litigants and ensure that disputes are independently, impartially and fairly adjudicated. Against this backdrop, the enforceability of contracts between private parties and government entities must be considered, as such entities often appoint arbitrators who act with such inflexibility as essentially to render arbitration agreements redundant and the required consent of the parties meaningless.


Banking

Contributed by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Supreme Court rules on post-dated cheque given as security for repayment of loan instalment
  • India
  • December 23 2016

The Supreme Court recently held that a dishonoured post-dated cheque for repayment of a loan instalment that was described as 'security' in the loan agreement was covered by the criminal liability set out in Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. While deciding whether dishonoured cheques issued to discharge existing liability fall under Section 138, the court explained that the question of whether a post-dated cheque is for "discharge of debt or liability" depends on the nature of the transaction.

Licences for pre-paid payment instruments temporarily suspended
  • India
  • December 23 2016

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently issued a press release stating that given the rapid changes to the payments solutions space, it was in the process of reviewing the regulatory framework governing pre-paid payment instruments. The RBI also stated that it will grant no new licences for the issue of pre-paid payment instruments until the end of February 2017. This temporary suspension will not apply to applications made by new small finance banks and payment banks.

RBI guidelines for at-will licensing of private banks – key features
  • India
  • September 30 2016

The Reserve Bank of India recently issued guidelines for the at-will licensing of universal banks in the private sector which, for the first time, will allow applicants to apply for a banking licence at will. The at-will regime will lead to increased transparency, better innovation and more realistic valuations, and is a significant step towards a healthier licensing regime for new private banks.

Bank employees as public servants: analysis of Ramesh Geli
  • India
  • April 22 2016

The Supreme Court recently clarified that all bank employees (including those employed by private sector banks) will be treated as public servants for the purposes of anti-corruption law. This ruling has significant implications, as all employees, officers and key managerial personnel of banking companies (ie, private and public sector banks and branches of foreign banks) will now come under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Reserve Bank of India announces new recovery measures for domestic banks
  • India
  • September 11 2015

The Reserve Bank of India recently introduced the Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme, which allows banks to convert outstanding loan payments into equity shares through strategic debt restructuring if defaulting borrowers fail to achieve projected viability milestones set out under the restructuring package. While the success of the scheme remains to be seen, it is a powerful tool for banks to manage their stressed accounts.


Competition & Antitrust

Contributed by Vaish Associates Advocates
CCI dismisses allegation of abuse of dominance against Sanofi
  • India
  • December 14 2017

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently dismissed claims against Sanofi India Limited for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market of drugs and pharmaceutical products. The CCI found that Sanofi enjoyed no dominant position and therefore held that there was no prima facie case to investigate its alleged conduct.

CCI dismisses claims of anti-competitive conduct against Kahaani-2 producers
  • India
  • November 30 2017

The Competition Commission of India recently dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct against the producers and presenters of the film Kahaani-2, as well as two digital cinema service providers (DCSP). The plaintiff claimed that the defendants had entered into an anti-competitive agreement to control the release of Kahaani-2 and deny other DCSPs operating in the market access to the film.

CCI penalises Hyundai for resale price maintenance and tie in
  • India
  • November 23 2017

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently imposed a penalty of Rs870 million on Hyundai Motor India Limited on the grounds that the company's dealership agreement had maintained resale prices through discount control and penalty mechanisms. Further, the CCI held that Hyundai had tied the sale of its cars to the sale of specific lubricants and oils, restricting competition in the relevant market and constituting a tie-in arrangement under the Competition Act.

CCI approves merger of Bharti Airtel and Telenor
  • India
  • November 16 2017

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently approved the amalgamation of telecoms service operators Bharti Airtel and Telenor through a court-driven merger scheme. The CCI held that Airtel was unlikely to have the ability or incentive to restrict supply services in the relevant markets for retail mobile telephony and national and international long-distance services. As the merger was unlikely to raise competition concerns, it was approved under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act.

CCI initiates investigation into Ghaziabad Development Authority
  • India
  • November 09 2017

The Competition Commission of India recently initiated an investigation into the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) for abuse of its dominant position in the market for the development and sale of low-cost residential flats under affordable housing schemes in lower economic areas in Ghaziabad. The CCI held that the GDA's conduct in increasing the price of flats was unfair on buyers and violated the Competition Act. It therefore instructed the director general to conduct an investigation into the GDA.


Corporate Finance/M&A

New mining laws: mergers and acquisitions for captive user mines now possible
  • India
  • June 08 2016

Parliament recently passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016. The act has not only addressed the concerns of stakeholders by introducing provisions to transfer captive user mines, but also addressed the concerns of banks and financial institutions with non-performing assets and bad debts by providing that the proceeds from the sale of assets may be used to discharge debts.

Liberalisation of guidelines for FDI in e-commerce businesses
  • India
  • April 13 2016

The government recently notified changes to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy by issuing guidelines on FDI in Indian entities engaged in the e-commerce sector. The guidelines have specifically permitted 100% FDI under the automatic route in entities using the marketplace model and have also set out the conditions applicable to e-commerce entities with FDI using the marketplace model.


Employment & Benefits

Contributed by Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Increase in gratuity limit
  • India
  • November 15 2017

The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 is a form of social security legislation which prescribes a scheme for the payment of gratuity. For the private sector, gratuity is capped at Rs1 million, whereas central government employees can receive gratuity of up to Rs2 million. There is a proposal to increase the cap for the private sector in order to align it with the central government. Although this is a step forward in ensuring better benefits to eligible employees, it will increase employers' financial burden.

Disabilities Act and role of private employers
  • India
  • October 04 2017

The federal government recently enacted a new act in order to empower disabled individuals and ensure their inclusion in the education and employment spheres. Although the government is primarily responsible for ensuring that disabled individuals receive equal treatment under the act, private organisations have also been made accountable for various obligations.

Social security obligation for outbound employees
  • India
  • June 28 2017

With the growing landscape of global businesses, there is a constant need to deploy employees for international assignments not only for skill development, but also for the business needs of the organisation. In order to abate similar obligations in a host country, India has entered into social security agreements (SSAs) with many countries. SSAs offer various benefits, such as the totalisation of benefits and exemption from dual contributions of social security.

Right foot forward: 2016 amendments to maternity benefits
  • India
  • March 15 2017

The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill 2016 was recently passed by the upper house of Parliament. Key changes include enhanced maternity leave, the introduction of maternity leave for adopting and commissioning mothers and new remote working provisions. The amendments are undoubtedly a positive step towards promoting diversity and the increased participation of women in the workforce in the manufacturing and service industries.