In order to keep pace with rapid economic growth, the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill 2017 proposes to introduce provisions to facilitate the enforcement of contracts. Among other things, the bill proposes to remove the courts' discretionary power to decree specific performance, permit substituted performance by a third party, set up special courts for dealing exclusively with suits relating to infrastructure claims and prevent the courts from granting injunctions in contracts relating to an infrastructure project.
Continuing its slew of exemptions, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has exempted all public sector oil and gas companies (created under the Petroleum Act 1934) from pre-merger scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India under Sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act 2002. The exemption – which will be valid for five years from the date of the official Gazette notification – also extends to all wholly or partly owned subsidiaries of such companies.
In 2017 the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found a prima facie case of abuse of a dominant position by the Haryana Urban Development Authority and sent the case to the director general for further investigation. Despite the Haryana Urban Development Authority Act and Regulations being the governing law in the case, the CCI opined that it would have jurisdiction to examine the matter in order to establish any anti-competitive conduct or practice under the Competition Act.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently released the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations 2018 to revise the norms governing the establishment and operation of insurance brokers in India. The regulations have introduced a myriad of changes which largely appear to bring parity between the norms applicable to insurance brokers and web aggregators, particularly with respect to solicitation through online, telemarketing and distance marketing modes.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has re-imposed a penalty of Rs522.4 million on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for abuse of its dominant position in the market. The BCCI argued that it is a not-for-profit organisation established to promote cricket in India and does not engage in any kind of commercial activity with the aim of profiting. However, the CCI held that despite there being no profit motive, the BCCI should be considered an enterprise under the Competition Act.
The Bombay High Court recently ruled that an application under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 which had been filed following an award passed by a foreign-seated arbitral tribunal had to be brought before a 'court' as defined in the explanation to Section 47 rather than Section 2(1)(e)(ii) of the act. The judgment has clarified, and to a large extent simplified, the procedure for a foreign award holder.
The Supreme Court recently upheld the validity of a quantum-only arbitration clause and affirmed that once an insurer has denied liability, arbitration is no longer an option (unless the insurer and insured come to an independent agreement to arbitrate). In its decision, the Supreme Court stressed the importance of reviewing an insurer's declinature letter to properly assess whether liability had been denied or accepted.
The Competition Commission of India recently initiated an investigation into Star India Pvt Ltd for an alleged violation of the Competition Act 2002 following claims filed by a private multi-system operator (MSO) engaged in cable TV distribution in the state of Kerala. The claimant alleged that Star India had engaged in anti-competitive behaviour and abused its dominant position by charging excessive licence fees compared with the fees that it had charged the claimant's competitors and other Kerala MSOs.
The Competition Commission of India has directed the All India Film Employee Confederation and various regional associations to cease and desist anti-competitive conduct, including suspending work and boycotting film directors who engage artists from outside the associations. The order establishes the importance of maintaining competition in the marketplace even in matters concerning workers' rights, which are otherwise protected under the respective labour statutes.
The Competition Commission of India recently exonerated nine Research Designs and Standards Organisation-approved suppliers, including four sister companies, following allegations of bid rigging. The decision has further widened the scope of 'bid rigging' within company groups to include instances where subsets of bidders collude among themselves. However, in order to establish collusion between these subsets, the parties' intent and the outcome of their behaviour must also be established.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct under Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act against the Kerala Film Producers Association and the Film Distributors Association. The CCI found no sufficient material on record to suggest that the defendants had enforced a ban on the distribution of films to the claimant for exhibition in his theatres. Therefore, no violation of the act could be found to have occurred.
The Competition Commission of India recently imposed penalties totalling Rs62.7 million on three chemical companies for bid rigging and collusive bidding under the Competition Act. The order marks a significant positive development in regard to the concept of a 'single economic entity' in India, bringing practice in line with that of mature competition law jurisdictions.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of anti-competitive conduct against Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and Royal Power Trunkey Implements Private Limited on the grounds that the claimant's grievance stemmed from the defendants' alleged non-adherence to tender conditions and circulars. Therefore, the CCI opined that no case regarding violation of the Competition Act had been made against the defendants.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed monetary penalties on the All Kerala Chemists & Druggists Association and two of its district units, as well as their office bearers, for ordering pharmaceutical companies to obtain no objection notices (NOCs) before appointing new stockists. The CCI issued its first general direction and stern advisory to all pharmaceutical companies to cooperate in eradicating the practice of mandatory NOCs and report any such demand to the CCI.
The new Code on Wages 2017 was recently introduced in Lok Sabha and is currently pending approval. The code seeks to integrate, amend and simplify the four central labour laws in order to reduce the multiplicity of definitions given under various labour legislation and foster a conducive labour environment by facilitating ease of compliance, thereby promoting the establishment of more organisations and creating more employment opportunities.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has released an exposure draft for revising the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations 2013 for comments from stakeholders. Following various representations made by insurance brokers and other stakeholders, the IRDAI issued the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations 2018 to repeal the erstwhile 2013 regulations, bringing changes to the earlier provisions and adding to the existing compliance requirements for insurance brokers.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently exposed a cartel of three top coal-liaisoning companies, holding that in respect of tenders floated for the award of coal-liaisoning contracts, the companies had violated the Competition Act. As the case fell within the category of hardcore cartels, the CCI imposed its highest recorded penalty based on the total profits earned by each company in respect of the tenders.
Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 sets out the conditions for setting aside an arbitral award. In this context, the term 'arbitral award' has always been understood as an award rendered by the majority members of an arbitral tribunal. However, recent decisions of the Bombay High Court and the Delhi High Court, while setting aside the award of the arbitral tribunal, have upheld the so-called 'minority award', in variance with the act and established precedent.
The Competition Commission of India recently imposed a penalty of approximately Rs1.4 billion (approximately $21 million) on Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for "online general web search and web search advertising services" in India. While the $21 million fine imposed may be small for the global technology giant, the ruling has raised hopes for Indian digital start-ups that are feeling the pressure of Google's dominance.
The Supreme Court recently issued two judgments regarding consumer law. In the first, the Supreme Court held that the courts should take a pragmatic view of consumers' rights considering their relative disadvantage with regard to suppliers of goods or services. In the second, the court held that, in the context of a vehicle insurance policy, the mere failure of the vehicle owner to intimate the insurer immediately after the theft of the vehicle should not bar settlement of genuine claims.