Event Announcement: 3rd NLSIR Symposium on Corporate Governance

The National Law School of India Review (NLSIR), the flagship journal of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, will be hosting the 3rd Annual NLSIR Symposium, ‘Indian Corporate Law and Corporate Governance: At the Crossroads’, in Bangalore, on 10th and 11th April, 2010. Extracts from the concept note for the Symposium may be of interest to our readers.
The 1st NLSIR Symposium, ‘Challenges to India’s Patent Regime’, and the 2nd Symposium, ‘Towards Unification: Perspectives on International and Investment Arbitration’, saw participation from members of the judiciary, leading practitioners, academics and students. Among the participants in the previous Symposia were Justice Ar. Lakshmanan, Justice P. Naolekar, Justice Jayasimha Babu, Justice N. Kumar, Mr. Arvind Datar, and Mr. Gourab Banerjee.
The 3rd NLSIR Symposium seeks to address crucial issues in contemporary corporate law and governance. There is no more appropriate time to consider this area of law. The Satyam episode has provoked widespread concerns regarding Indian corporate governance mechanisms. Even outside the area of corporate governance, it is necessary to ask whether the 1956 Companies Act continues to serve the interest of Indian corporations, their stakeholders and the Indian public. Does the proposed Companies Bill even begin to address these questions? What is the fate of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and company adjudication generally? These are some of the questions that it is necessary to urgently resolve, to understand the journey Indian company law has had over the past fifty years, and the course it must chart in the future. The four Sessions of the Symposium will seek to analyse these and other related issues.
The Sessions:
The First Session looks at the role of the corporate vehicle in tax planning. This is among the crucial issues facing Indian tax law today; as exemplified through the Vodafone tax controversy. When does the use of the corporate form cross the line between permissible tax planning and impermissible evasion? The Second Session looks at issues pertaining to the role of the independent director and the statutory auditor. In the backdrop of the Satyam scandal, questions have arisen as to the appropriate role of independent directors and auditors in maintaining and evolving corporate governance norms. These questions will form the focus of the Second Session. The Third Session looks at company adjudication and the ‘tribunalisation’ of justice. With the NCLT case still pending before the Supreme Court, it is time to ask what form of adjudicatory mechanism will best serve the needs of India today. Further, are typical remedies of oppression/mismanagement sufficient to protect shareholders? It is time to evolve new forms of remedies; as done recently in Hong Kong in the form of multiple derivative actions? What is the role and extent to which Courts should interfere in commercial arrangements in order to protect minority shareholder interests? The Fourth Session of the Symposium seeks to undertake a holistic analysis of the Companies Act, 1956. Does the new Bill actually show promising signs? What more can be done – if anything at all needs to be done – to refashion company law and corporate governance to meet the challenges posed in today’s commercial scenario?
The Panelists:
Panelists at the Symposium include Mr. Sandip Bhagat (partner, S&R Associates), Mr. V. Umakanth (former partner Amarchand Mangaldas and Ph.D. scholar, National University of Singapore), Mr. Somashekhar Sundaresan (partner, Jyoti Sagar Associates), Mr. Siddharth Raja (partner, Narasappa, Doraswamy and Raja) and Ms. Kristin van Zwieten (D. Phil. scholar, University of Oxford). Leading members from the judiciary and the Bar are also expected to attend.
Submissions and Participation as Delegates:
The NLSIR invites contributions of up to 10000 words on any of the themes to be discussed in the Symposium. Selected papers will be presented by the authors at the Symposium and will be published in the Symposium issue of the NLSIR. Contributions, and requests for any further information, may be mailed to mail(dot)nlsir(at)gmail(dot)com.
Practitioners, academicians, corporate houses and students are invited to register as delegates. Further details will be available on request. Interested readers can contact the Organising Committee of the Symposium at the above email.

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Mihir Naniwadekar

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