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Judicial Odyssey of MFN Clauses: Analysing AO v. Nestle SA

[Akarshi Narain and Harshitha Adari are third-year law students at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad] In October 2023, the Supreme Court of India resolved a prolonged dispute in AO v. Nestle SA over the interpretation of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses in Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs). A Delhi High Court case has further echoed its commitment to the verdict and dismissed...

Adani-Hindenburg Saga: Unraveling the Market Turmoil and Regulatory Response

[Dhaval Bothra and Anoushka Das are law students at Symbiosis Law School, Pune] On January 24, 2023, Hindenburg Research LLC released a report accusing the Adani group of fraudulent activities and market manipulation, leading to a significant decline in the share value of Adani companies. The Hindenburg report had a substantial impact on the Indian securities market, causing a stock plunge and...

Buyback Consideration Pre-115QA: Deemed Dividend or Capital Gains?

[Shaswat Kashyap and Harshal Chhabra are students at Gujarat National Law University] The buyback of shares involves a company repurchasing its shares and other specified securities issued by the company. This approach has consistently been a favoured means for Indian companies to distribute accumulated profits among their shareholders. Buybacks are also considered to be more tax-efficient when...

The Paradigm Shift in AIF Units: Navigating the Transition to Dematerialisation

[Vidisha Tanna and Sonali Nagariya are 5th-year BLS LLB students at SVKM’s Pravin Gandhi College of Law, Mumbai]  In the ever-evolving landscape of Indian financial markets, the move towards dematerialisation of units of alternative investment funds (“AIFs”) marks a significant regulatory stride. The SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations, 2012 have heralded a new era where AIFs, an...

Transforming the Financial Landscape: RBI’s Overhaul of Forex Authorization Framework

[Harshal Chhabra and Shaswat Kashyap are 2nd year and 3rd year students respectively at Gujarat National Law University] In response to the dynamic shifts in the financial landscape, the Reserve Bank of India (the RBI) on 26 December 2023 introduced a draft licensing framework for Authorized Persons (APs) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (the Act). This move signifies a pivotal...

Handling the Rumour Mill: SEBI’s Market Rumour Verification Reforms

[Gyanesh Mishra is a third year B.B.A LL.B (Hons.) student at National Law University, Odisha] The Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”), through a consultation paper released on 28 December 2023, proposed substantial reforms to enhance the regime surrounding the verification of market rumours. The reforms propose to change the existing material event criteria under the regulation 30 of...

Revolutionizing Finance: RBI’s Bold SRO Framework Unveiled

[Dhaval Bothra and Rajdeep Bhattacharjee are law students at Symbiosis Law School, Pune] The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) recently unveiled the “Draft Omnibus Framework for recognising Self-Regulatory Organisations (“SROs”) for Regulated Entities (“REs”)”, which represents a significant change in recognizing SROs for REs under its authority. The Draft Omnibus Framework outlines the essential...

Navigating Jurisdictional Waters: The Controversy Surrounding NFRA’s Retrospective Oversight

[Anish Gupta is a 3rd year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore] In the recent case of Harish Kumar v. National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA), the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has held that the NFRA has ‘superior authority’ to oversee auditors of listed and large companies on disciplinary matters over the Institute of...

RBI’s SRO Framework: Shaping Responsible Growth in the Indian Financial Sector

[Shaswat Kashyap and Anand Vardhan are third-year law students at Gujarat National Law University] With the ever-growing adoption of innovative technologies, coupled with the rapid growth of regulated entities, it is becoming cumbersome for the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) to effectively regulate the sector. Self-regulatory organizations (“SROs”) can provide a vital link between the regulator...

The RBI’s Watchful Eye on AIFs: Navigating Conflict and Evergreening Risks

[Dhaval Bothra is a law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune] As the chief regulator of financial institutions, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) oversees varied entities from commercial banks to non-banking financial companies, ensuring prudent behaviour and protecting the interests of investors. Among the plethora of financial instruments under its purview, alternative investment funds...

Unravelling the Rights of Successors vis-à-vis Nominees to the Shares of a Company

[Snigdha is a 3rd year B.A., LL.B. student at Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar] The Supreme Court on 14 December 2023 in Shakti Yezdani v. Jayanand Jayant Salgaonkar settled the position of conflict between the rights of a nominee under section 109A of the Companies Act, 1956 (the “Act”) and that of a successor to the shares/securities of a company. The Court clarified the...

A Faster Track for Debt Financing: Examining India’s Proposed Public Issuance Framework

[Dhaval Bothra and Rajdeep Bhattacharjee are students at Symbiosis Law School, Pune] The Indian corporate debt market, while exhibiting notable dynamism, grapples with a critical challenge: the stark predominance of private placements. This overreliance on opaque transactions significantly restricts public participation and impedes overall market development. Recognizing this constraint, the...

Dodging Criminal Liability Through Mergers & Amalgamations

[Suraj Chaudhary and Ravishekhar Pandey are practising advocates at the Bombay High Court, and specialise in commercial disputes] Netflix’s Railway Men this November has refreshed the public memory of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy in 1984. In March this year, given its limited curative jurisdiction, the Supreme Court had no choice but to reject the application for enhancement of compensation to the...

Replacement of a Liquidator under the IBC: The End of Independence?

[Sannah Mudbidri is a 3rd year BA LLB (Hons.) student at National Law School of India University, Bangalore] The landscape of liquidator replacements under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) has witnessed a transformative journey, marked by the historical authority vested in the adjudicating authority and amendments to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) regulations...

Group of Companies Doctrine: Judgments Implicitly Overruled in Cox & Kings

[Varun Srinivasan is an advocate practising in New Delhi and is a junior in the chambers of Mr. Gaurav Pachnanda SA] The five-judge decision of the Supreme Court in Cox & Kings Ltd v. SAP India Pvt Ltd 2023 INSC 1051 has already been well summarized here and some of its implications are discussed here. The focus of this post is to recognize some of Cox & Kings’ more subtle contributions...

Smaller Ticket Sizes: Decoding SEBI’s Corporate Bond Market Reform

[Shalin Ghosh is a 2nd year B.A.,LL.B. (Hons.) student at Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai] The Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”), through a consultation paper released on 9 December 2023, proposed a slew of reforms to spur the growth of the Indian corporate bond market. One of those reforms concerns permitting companies to issue non-convertible debentures (“NCDs”) and...

Navigating the Waters of Change: SEBI’s Instant Settlement Plan and Foreign Investor Concerns

[Arihant Sethia is a student at the Gujarat National Law University] In the fast-paced world of financial markets, where time is often equated with value, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set the stage for a groundbreaking transformation. The proposed shift from the T+1 settlement system to an instantaneous settlement framework represents a bold leap into the future...

Navigating the Labyrinth: Landowners’ Rights in Real Estate Insolvency

[Dhaval Bothra and Rajdeep Bhattacharjee are law students at Symbiosis Law School, Pune] The intricate realm of real estate development is governed by meticulous development agreements, fostering a collaborative relationship between landowners and developers. In this partnership, landowners contribute valuable land, while developers undertake construction responsibilities, potentially leading to...

Addressing Unstamped Arbitration Agreements: Novel Ways to Reinforce Arbitral Autonomy

[Akash Kumar Surya is a 3rd year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru] In the case of In Re: Interplay the Supreme Court recently delivered its verdict on the legal position of unstamped arbitration agreement in India. The judgement has settled the issue, bringing clarity on a matter whose jurisprudence has otherwise been marked by chequered...

The Dynamics of Digital Consent Acquisition: The TRAI Mandate

[Shreya Saswati is a third year B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) Student at National Law University, Odisha] In its pursuit to curb the dissemination of unsolicited commercial messages, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) issued a direction on 2 October 2023 under the Telecom Commercial Communication Customer Preference Regulation, 2018 (“TCCCPR”). This directed all access providers (“APs”) to...

A Breath of Fresh Air for Stressed Debts? Demystifying SEBI’s Consultation Paper on SSFs

[Mahim Raval is a 3rd year B.Sc., LL.B. (Hons.) student at Gujarat National Law University in Gandhinagar] India’s financial landscape has been grappling with the persistent burden of stressed assets, hampering the flow of credit and impacting economic growth. While the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has introduced multiple schemes to resolve the burgeoning non-performing assets of banks, the...

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...

Stamping Out Uncertainty: Resolving the Conundrum of Unstamped Arbitration Agreements

[Hrishikesh Goswami and Aryan Soni are 3rd year students at the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar] The enforceability of arbitration clauses within inadequately stamped agreements has been a longstanding matter of legal scrutiny, with divergent opinions and decisions from various courts, including the Supreme Court. However, a significant resolution was achieved on December 13, 2023...

Unveiling the New LLP Rules on SBO Disclosure: Transparency or Ambiguity?

[Smruti Kulkarni and Manas Rohilla are 3rd year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) students at the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar]  On 9th November 2023, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) notified the Limited Liability Partnership (Significant Beneficial Owners) Rules, 2023, which mandate all Limited Liability Partnerships (“LLPs”) to identify and disclose their Significant Beneficial...

Restricting Stock Brokers from Non-Securities Business: SEBI’s Approach

[Vaishnavi Srinivasan and Philip Oommen are lawyers based in Mumbai, and graduates of the National Institute of Securities Markets] Rule 8(3)(f) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957, (“SCRR”) is one of the lesser-known, yet crucial provisions in securities regulation. From the placing of restrictions on loans and advances to the prohibition of digital gold sales, rule 8(3)(f) is...

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