Arbitration evolved as an expeditious, cost-effective, simple and fair alternative to litigation. However, over time, it became costly. Coupled with largely ineffective provisions regarding costs allocation and recoverability, this was considered a roadblock to the development of arbitration in India. Section 31A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, which was introduced in 2015, was thus a welcome step towards costs recoverability being based on rational and realistic criteria.
The topic of judicial interference in arbitration is diverse, primarily because arbitration continues to evolve rapidly in India. It is an area in which provocative ideas abound, with respect to which legal scholars and stakeholders tend to have more questions than answers. A key question in this regard concerns the acceptable level of judicial interference in arbitral awards (being a reflection of the minds of the arbitrators) and where the judiciary should draw the line.
The patent illegality ground was formally introduced to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 by way of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015. Prior to 2015, the scope of this ground of challenge was set out in various Supreme Court decisions stemming from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd v Saw Pipes Ltd. This article examines the genesis of patent illegality and tracks its trajectory from Oil & Natural Gas Corporation.
The freedom to contract principle forms the basis of the Contract Act, and a similar principle is also provided for in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. However, the question often arises as to what happens when one party – despite a contractual agreement setting out the scope and ambit of arbitration – seeks recourse to remedies provided for under a special statute. This article examines this issue in view of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act.
The enforcement of a foreign arbitral award in India is founded on the fundamental principle of minimal judicial intervention in order to further India's pro-arbitration and consequently pro-foreign investment climate. However, the Delhi High Court recently refused to enforce a foreign arbitral award under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. This article analyses the court's decision, its reasons for refusing the enforcement of the award and whether this judgment is a step back for Indian arbitration law.
The Reserve Bank of India recently announced a resolution framework for COVID-19-related stress to address borrower default pursuant to the stress caused by the pandemic without necessitating a change of ownership and without an asset classification downgrade modifying the existing framework. This article focuses on the key changes introduced for corporate loan accounts (ie, exposures other than personal loans).
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently imposed a Rs80,185 fine on the Jalgaon District Medicine Dealers Association for collecting product information service (PIS) charges from pharma product manufacturers, thereby restricting medicine supplies in the market. Although this order is one in a series imposed by the CCI on chemist and druggist associations, it is the first to impose fines solely for the collection of PIS charges.
In April 2019 the Delhi High Court disposed of 12 writ petitions filed by 10 car manufacturers and India's largest music label and movie studio. The writ petitions had challenged the main provisions of the Competition Act 2002 and were filed against a common order passed by the Competition Commission of India, which had found that 14 car manufacturers had been dominant in their respective markets and abused this dominance by preventing the establishment of an aftermarket in India.
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.
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.
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.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing restrictions on the movement of individuals, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) recently issued a circular allowing companies to convene their annual general meeting (AGM) through videoconferencing or other audiovisual means (ie, electronically). With AGMs around the corner, it will be interesting to see how companies will hold virtual AGMs in practice and whether companies and their members will welcome the MCA's relaxations.
India's company law regime has evolved over the years and become stricter and more penal in nature. There has been a paradigm shift in the legislature's viewpoint with regard to the Companies Act's stringency. There has also been a recent trend to promote foreign investment in India. Accordingly, the legislature has adopted measures in order to decriminalise – or at least liberalise – India's company law regime.
Proxy advisers have gained prominence over recent years in relation to corporate governance matters and have become an integral part of shareholder activism in India. In order to standardise the process across proxy advisory firms, the Securities and Exchange Board of India recently issued its Procedural Guidelines for Proxy Advisers and a circular on grievance resolution between listed entities and proxy advisers.
The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises recently notified certain criteria for classifying enterprises as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and specified the form and procedure for filing the applicable memorandum. The change in the classification of MSMEs is a part of the relief package offered to the MSME sector amid the COVID-19 outbreak. This reclassification has been well received across sectors as it will help MSMEs to increase in size without losing their entitled benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses' ability to comply with various statutory rules and regulations due to lockdowns and other social distancing measures. The government – particularly the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) – has proactively introduced various measures to support companies in their ability to comply with the Companies Act 2013. Most notably, the MCA has relaxed the restrictions around which corporate actions can occur at virtual board meetings until 30 September 2020.
In light of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, India has adopted a similar approach to the United States and Europe and restricted foreign direct investment from certain jurisdictions. By way of a notification issued by the Department of Economic Affairs, the government has introduced measures to curb opportunistic takeovers (direct or indirect) of Indian companies by persons or entities of any country which shares a land border with India.