The Competition Commission of India has launched an investigation under the Competition Act against Oil and Natural Gas Limited (ONGC) for abuse of its dominant position in the relevant market. The investigation stemmed from allegations made by the informant that ONGC had imposed one-sided and onerous terms in its charter hire agreements with suppliers of offshore support vehicles.
The Copyright Act specifically addresses authors' special rights, which comprise the right to claim authorship of a work and the right to prevent any distortion, modification or mutilation of a work which would be prejudicial to the author's reputation. While jurisprudence on moral rights is still relatively limited, a few foundational cases are emblematic of India's approach and the associated legal issues.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that consumer disputes are incapable of being submitted to arbitration, placing them in the infamous category of 'non-arbitrable' subjects in India. However, the court also stated that where an elected consumer fails to file a consumer complaint, the parties are not barred from submitting the dispute to arbitration. This article analyses whether such a statement could have far-reaching implications for arbitrability as a ground for challenging an award.
The Competition Commission of India has approved Bayer Aktiengesellschaft's proposed acquisition of Monsanto Company, subject to certain remedies. For example, the combined entity must give the government access to Indian agro-climatic data free of charge and cannot directly or indirectly impose commercial dealings capable of causing exclusivity in the sales channel for the supply of agricultural products.
The Authority for Advance Rulings recently considered the applicability of goods and services tax (GST) on expense reimbursements in the case of 'pure agents' – a key concept when evaluating taxable services, particularly for tax exemption claims in respect of expense reimbursements and applicable GST. While rulings are binding only on the taxpayer that raises the question, they carry persuasive value in identical situations.
The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 was recently passed in the Lok Sabha. The new bill has been welcomed as it provides much-needed clarity regarding the use and storage of Aadhaar numbers. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority has taken the bill's enactment as a cue to start providing clarity on the collection and storage of customers' Aadhaar data. It is hoped that the bill will be enacted quickly, as it is unenforceable in its present form.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has penalised South Asia LPG Company Ltd for abusing its dominant position on the market for upstream terminaling services at the Visakhapatnam port. The CCI held that SALPG had denied market access at the port to a private terminal operator. This landmark case is a good example of a dominant enterprise denying an essential facility to a competitor without any objective justification.
While the classification of gains arising from a sale of shares has previously been litigated, the Bombay High Court recently dealt with the issue of whether gains arising from such a sale by a private trust would be taxable as capital gains or business income. The ruling examines not only the treatment of shares, but also the use of sales proceeds to conclusively adjudicate on the intentions behind the sale.
The Mumbai Tax Tribunal recently considered whether the conversion of a company into a limited liability partnership could be considered a transfer even though it had failed to meet all of the conditions set out in Section 47(xiiib) of the Income Tax Act. In another case, the tribunal referred to a Delhi High Court ruling and stated that preference shares are part of a company's share capital and cannot be considered a loan.
The focus of India's rapidly evolving arbitration regime appears to be concentrated on factors such as ensuring that arbitrations are completed in a timely manner and appointed arbitrators are impartial. While these factors are significant, the importance of substantive and procedural clarity in terms of what happens after an award is passed is also crucial.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed a penalty of Rs223.6 million on Essel Shyam Communication Limited (ESCL) for bid rigging in tenders floated by sports broadcasters, including those for the 2012 Indian Premier League. The CCI ultimately reduced the fine imposed on ESCL and its officials under the leniency provisions contained in the Competition Act. This is the fourth order that the CCI has issued under these provisions.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Re-insurance) Regulations 2018 were notified on 12 December 2018 and came into force on 1 January 2019. As well as streamlining filing requirements and processes, the regulations consolidate the existing regulations for life and general reinsurance business into a uniform set of provisions for reinsurance business in India.
Recent changes to direct tax-related policies and procedures include the newly reinstated task force – which was reconstituted in order to review the Income Tax Act and draft a new direct tax law. It is scheduled to submit its report to the government by the end of February 2019. Further, the Indian government has signed a protocol with the Chinese government, amending the India-China tax treaty. The protocol incorporates changes pursuant to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Action Plan reports.
By way of a 2018 order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) rejected the director general's findings and closed the case against 37 signalling cable suppliers concerning allegations of bid rigging in eight tenders. The CCI's decision is significant, as although the bidders were found to have presented similar or identical bids, careful scrutiny showed that there was no evidence of any anti-competitive agreement or arrangement among the five subsets, nor any evidence to suggest tacit collusion.
A recent advanced ruling examined the applicability of goods and services tax (GST) to back-office support services provided by an Indian company to a foreign client. The Advance Ruling Authority held that the back-office support services in question should be treated as intermediary services, which are not eligible to be exempt from the GST applicable to an export of services since, as per GST law, intermediary services provided by Indian companies are treated as services supplied in India.
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) recently upheld the Competition Commission of India's decision to impose a Rs63 billion penalty on 11 cement companies for cartelisation. The NCLAT observed that the companies had used their trade association to discuss pricing and sensitive information relating to production, capacity and dispatch. Further, there had been a simultaneous reduction in the cement companies' dispatches and several instances where they had hiked their prices.
The Bombay High Court recently upheld the constitutionality of the Maharashtra Tax on Lotteries Act 2006. The legality and taxation of lottery schemes in Maharashtra has been at the centre of a catena of judgments, including State of Bombay v RMD Chamarbaugwala and Writ Petition 854/2007. The latest judgment clarifies that the taxation of lotteries falls within the ambit of the term 'betting and gambling' under Entry 62 of the State List of the Constitution.
Two-tier arbitration clauses or appellate arbitration mechanisms were upheld by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Centrotrade Minerals and Metal Inc v Hindustan Copper Limited. This article discusses the evolution of the jurisprudence surrounding two-tier arbitration in India and analyses both the utility of such a mechanism for the parties and its usefulness in certain situations.
The Advance Ruling Authority (ARA) was constituted under Indian goods and services tax law and entrusted with the responsibility of answering questions regarding the applicability of tax, the admissibility of input tax credit, the classification of goods and services and the eligibility to receive the exemption. While an ARA ruling is binding only on the taxpayer that raises the question, it carries persuasive value in identical situations.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) recently approved Walmart International Holding's acquisition of 51% to 77% of the outstanding shares in Flipkart Private Limited. The CCI noted that both parties were engaged in business-to-business sales and that, as such, there was a horizontal overlap between them in the relevant market. Further, the CCI observed that Flipkart and Walmart's combined market share would remain less than 5%.