India updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Khaitan & Co
Supreme Court holds government cannot seek preference while seeking stay on enforcement
  • India
  • 12 September 2019

The Supreme Court recently considered whether an unconditional stay can be granted under Section 36 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 when the applicant is the government. The court rightly held that the safeguards which were incorporated for the Crown by Order 27, Rule 8A of the Code of Civil Procedure are now inapplicable and outdated, especially as the purpose and intent of alternate dispute resolution is to treat parties equally.

Supreme Court rules that arbitrators' fee schedule fixed by parties overrides Fourth Schedule of Arbitration Act
  • India
  • 08 August 2019

The division bench of the Supreme Court recently held that if the parties to an arbitration have agreed an arbitrators' fee schedule, the arbitrators must charge their fees in accordance with this agreed schedule and not in accordance with the Fourth Schedule of the amended Arbitration Act. While this decision gives credence to party autonomy and may thus be hailed as pro-arbitration, it specifies no limits and provides no other directions for parties to bear in mind when fixing a fee schedule.

Terminating arbitrator's mandate – can parties proceed with truncated tribunal?
  • India
  • 25 July 2019

It is common knowledge that arbitration provides greater flexibility and party autonomy compared with traditional litigation before the courts. Corollary to this, the agreed terms for the appointment of an arbitrator or arbitral tribunal must be strictly followed while making such appointments if a dispute arises between the parties to an agreement. However, what happens when an arbitrator fails to or is prevented from acting specifically at the penultimate stage?

Award replacing contractual provisions with new terms "shocks the conscience" of Supreme Court
  • India
  • 20 June 2019

The question of whether a contract can be amended retroactively was raised in the arbitration proceedings between Ssangyong and the National Highways Authority of India. The Supreme Court's ruling on the case is a welcome exposition on the contours of Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, especially in relation to challenges on grounds of violations of principles of natural justice.

Enforcement of foreign awards: does violation of legal provision equate to contravention of fundamental policy?
  • India
  • 18 April 2019

In 2013 the Supreme Court held that the enforcement of a foreign arbitral award can be refused only if it is contrary to, among other things, the 'fundamental policy of Indian law'. This article focuses on the Indian courts' interpretation of this term and looks at a common question that arises in relation to this area of law – namely, whether a foreign arbitral award which is a mere violation of an Indian legal provision qualifies as a contravention of the fundamental policy of Indian law.


Banking

Changes to merchant discount rate framework: impact on stakeholders
  • India
  • 02 March 2018

The Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology recently established a new regulatory framework for setting limits on and payments of merchant discount rates and encouraging digital payments. Rates will now be determined based not only on the basis of transaction value, but also on turnover. However, in its effort to curb transaction costs for merchants, the government risks imposing significant charges on other system participants.


Capital Markets

Union Budget 2019: key capital markets highlights
BDO LLP
  • India
  • 06 August 2019

On the back of its new electoral mandate, the Modi Sarkar 2.0 government recently presented its first budget. The budget focuses primarily on infrastructure spending and boosting investment from private and foreign investors, with the government forecasting that the Indian economy will grow to $5 trillion by 2025. Following the budget announcement, a slew of reforms and policies are expected in the coming months. This article highlights some of the key capital market-related amendments.


Competition & Antitrust

Contributed by Vaish Associates Advocates
Supreme Court permits material seized during dawn raid to be used as evidence
  • India
  • 19 September 2019

On 15 January 2019 the Supreme Court allowed the Competition Commission of India's (CCI's) appeal against a Delhi High Court order which had prohibited the CCI director general from acting on the evidence seized during a dawn raid of 19 September 2014. The dawn raid in question was the first to be conducted by the director general and formed part of the investigation into JCB India Limited's alleged abuse of its dominant position.

CCI finds no evidence of resale price maintenance in sale of Kaff appliances on Snapdeal
  • India
  • 12 September 2019

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed allegations of resale price maintenance against Kaff Appliances (India) Pvt Ltd under Section 26(6) of the Competition Act 2002. The CCI noted that it could not conclusively establish that the evidence (ie, an email, a caution notice and a legal notice) had been used as instruments to impose a resale price maintenance on the informant. Further, the presence of many competing dealers suggested a fair degree of intra-brand competition.

CCI penalises Godrej for role in bilateral ancillary cartel
  • India
  • 05 September 2019

In January 2019 the Competition Commission of India imposed a penalty of Rs85,01,364 on Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd for its role in a bilateral ancillary cartel, which violated Section 3(3) read with Section 3(1) of the Competition Act. Godrej's role in the cartel had been revealed via a leniency application filed by Panasonic Corporation, Japan on behalf of itself and its Indian subsidiary.

CCI cedes jurisdiction to decide abuse of dominance complaint against NSE
  • India
  • 29 August 2019

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently decided not to investigate allegations that the National Stock Exchange had abused its dominant position due to a potential jurisdictional conflict with the Securities Exchange Board of India. This decision was a surprise turn from the CCI's earlier position and is likely to have been influenced by a Supreme Court judgment which warned the CCI against deciding technical issues relating to the terms of a licence granted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Court allows simultaneous proceedings against directors for alleged antitrust violation
  • India
  • 15 August 2019

In December 2018 the division bench of the Delhi High Court reconfirmed an earlier decision and held that simultaneous inquiries could be undertaken into Monsanto and its directors and officers for their alleged violation of the Competition Act 2002. The court also clarified that under Section 27 of the act, penalties could be imposed on the individuals in question based on their Monsanto-derived income.


Corporate Tax

Contributed by BDO LLP
General Anti-avoidance Rule – a pivotal development
  • India
  • 13 September 2019

In an attempt to curb tax evasion and avoid tax leakage, the government introduced the General Anti-avoidance Rule (GAAR), which took effect from April 2017. Following the introduction of the GAAR, businesses have had to revisit and revalidate their transactions. Further, as there are a number of potential issues that may be faced by taxpayers, they must observe the types of transaction that are likely to be affected.

CBDT clarifies assessment procedure for start-ups
  • India
  • 23 August 2019

The Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) recently issued a circular clarifying the applicability of Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act and the procedure that must be followed by tax officers in assessment proceedings. Although an attempt has been made to end the confusion created in the start-up community, uncertainty surrounding the legal basis for the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and CBDT notifications regarding the applicability of Section 56(2)(viib) remains.

Union Budget 2019: key tax highlights
  • India
  • 02 August 2019

On the back of its new electoral mandate, the Modi Sarkar 2.0 government recently presented its first budget. The budget focuses primarily on infrastructure spending and boosting investment from private and foreign investors, with the government forecasting that the Indian economy will grow to $5 trillion by 2025. Following the budget announcement, a slew of reforms and policies are expected in the coming months, including a draft of the much-awaited Direct Tax Code.

Does Section 195 of Income Tax Act apply to salaries of employees seconded by foreign entities?
  • India
  • 05 July 2019

The Bombay High Court recently considered whether a taxpayer, which was resident in India and the sole owner of a business that provided personnel on an as-needed basis to foreign companies, had been required to deduct tax under Section 195 of the Income Tax Act when paying an employee who it had loaned to a Kuwait-based company. Section 195 of the act requires taxpayers to deduct tax on any payment (other than salary payments) made to non-residents.

Budget 2019: a box of possibilities
  • India
  • 28 June 2019

With a clear mandate from Indian citizens, the newly elected government is expected to bring a fresh perspective to tax matters when it issues its budget on 5 July 2019. The tax rates are unlikely to change substantially and the amendments made in the interim budget will remain intact. However, to increase India's competitiveness from an investment perspective, the government may reduce the peak tax rate for all businesses and entities.