AuthorUmakanth Varottil

Navigating the Choppy Waters of Anti-trust Regulation in the Maritime Industry

[Aditya Trivedi is an Associate with the Competition Advisory Services (India) LLP, New Delhi and an LL.M. student in Competition Law & Economics at the Brussels School of Competition and Vanshika Arora is a 4th Year B.A.LL.B. student at the Army Institute of Law, Mohali] In the vast tapestry of India’s economic landscape, the maritime sector stands as a pivotal contributor, shaping the...

Inherent Powers of the NCLT to Recall an Insolvency Resolution Plan

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) lays emphasis on an elaborate process by which a corporate insolvency resolution plan (CIRP) can be proposed, considered, decided, and approved. The principal actors involved in the process include the resolution professional, the committee of creditors (CoC) and the adjudicating authority (being the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and, on...

Unstamped Arbitration Agreements: Will the Wheels Stop Spinning?

On 13 December 2023, a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court rendered its verdict in In Re: The Interplay between arbitration agreements under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, and the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (“In Re: The Interplay”) on the validity and enforceability of unstamped arbitration agreements. This issue had become a matter of some consternation for the arbitration community...

SC Ruling on “Group of Companies” Doctrine: Viewed Through a Corporate Law Lens

On 6 December 2023, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Cox & Kings Ltd. v. SAP India Pvt. Ltd. recognized the “group of companies” doctrine as being part of Indian arbitration law. By virtue of this doctrine, “an arbitration agreement which is entered into by a company within a group of companies may bind non-signatory affiliates, if the circumstances are such as to demonstrate the...

SAT Ruling in the Zee Entertainment Case

In a ruling late last month, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) reversed an order of the chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) dated August 14, 2023 in the case involving Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL). The SEBI order had barred Mr. Punit Goenka from holding the position of director or key managerial personnel in ZEEL or other related companies. The...

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A Bank’s Post-Merger Liability for Pre-Merger Crimes

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court in Religare Finvest Limited v. State of NCT of Delhi (2023INSC819) considered the question whether the transferee bank in a merger can be fastened with corporate criminal liability for offences committed by the officials of the transferor bank prior to a merger of the two entities. The Court answered in the negative given the specific facts and circumstances...

NCLT Order in Zee-Sony Merger Reiterates High Onus on Objectors

The proposed merger of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited with Sony’s India operations (through its entity Culver Max Entertainment Private Limited) has attracted considerable attention. This is essentially due to some governance and financial circumstances surrounding the Zee group. Zee Entertainment was the subject matter of shareholder activism spearheaded by an institutional investor...

Empirical Analysis of Legal Fees Data for Indian Companies

[Srinivasan Sankaraguruswamy is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the NUS Business School, National University of Singapore and Umakanth Varottil is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore] A significant challenge confronts legal departments of companies. On the one hand, the demand for legal services from external counsel continues to skyrocket given...

ClientEarth-Shell: English Court Rejects Climate-Focused Shareholder Derivative Suit

[This post was first published in the Oxford Business Law Blog] In a closely watched litigation in the climate change space, ClientEarth, a non-profit environmental law organisation based in the United Kingdom, instituted a shareholder derivative suit against the directors of Shell plc. The claim is based on the allegation that the directors breached their duties under the Companies Act 2006 by...

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