Supreme Court on the admissibility of electronic evidence under Section 65B of the Evidence Act.

The recent instances of leakage of Whatsapp chats obtained during the course of investigation and their admissibility as evidence in a criminal trial has brought the issue of electronic evidence to the forefront. These Whatsapp chats have been leaked in the public domain at the investigation stage itself, even before the commencement of the trial. Considering these recent developments, the legal framework for electronic evidence merits further scrutiny.

Under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Section 65B prescribes a distinct framework that governs the admissibility of electronic evidence. There have been multiple litigations over the scope and ambit of Section 65B, with divergent views taken by the Apex Court. Continue Reading Supreme Court on the admissibility of electronic evidence under Section 65B of the Evidence Act.

Rights of Suspended Board - Vijay Kumar Jain v. Standard Chartered Bank

 

Upon commencement of the resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code), powers of the Board of Directors of the company stand suspended and are vested in and exercised by the resolution professional. While the directors are entitled to attend the meetings of the committee of creditors (COC) formed for the company, such directors have no voting rights.

A question arose over whether the directors should be given copies of the resolution plans and other confidential documents that the COC considers during the meetings. Sharing of such documents could be seen as in direct conflict with the obligations of the resolution professional to maintain confidentiality under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016 (CIRP Regulations) and other related regulations. More importantly, it could create positions of conflict between the suspended Board, who often submit resolution plans or are applicants under Section 12A, and the other participants. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its recent judgment in Vijay Kumar Jain v. Standard Chartered Bank and Others[1] has, with great respect, left some questions unanswered. Continue Reading Supreme Court on the Rights of Suspended Board in Vijay Kumar Jain v. Standard Chartered Bank: Some Implications

Settling for a Price – The SEBI Consent Mechanism, Version 4.0

On August 10, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) published a report (Report) of the High Level Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice A. R. Dave (Retd.) (Committee). The Report has made recommendations to revamp the SEBI (Settlement of Administrative and Civil Proceedings) Regulations, 2014 (Regulations).

As and when amended, this will mark the fourth avatar of the consent process, first introduced by SEBI through a circular way back in 2007 (remodelled substantially in 2012) and then reincarnated as delegated legislation in 2014. The Report has taken into account SEBI’s experience with this mechanism in the past few years as well as evolving market trends.

Continue Reading Settling for a Price – The SEBI Consent Mechanism, Version 4.0

Image credit: Scroll.in, September 26, 2017

This is the fourth blog piece in our series entitled “Those Were the Days”, which is published monthly. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.


The world is becoming corporatised, and the time of the business owner living over his little shop are well-nigh over. The world is also becoming smaller and, as it does, a business’s reach spreads across multiple jurisdictions and through multiple subsidiary or group companies.

In this age of corporatisation, most jurisdictions recognise the concept of a company as a separate juristic person, with an identity distinct and independent of its shareholders, members or directors. This corporate existence separates a company’s identity from that of its promoters or shareholders. It enables the company to contract in its own name, with its shareholders and third parties, to acquire and hold property in its own name, and to sue and be sued in its own name. A company has perpetual succession; its life is not co-dependent with that of its shareholders and it remains in existence irrespective of any change in its members, until it is dissolved by liquidation. The shareholders of a company are not identified with the company and cannot be held personally liable for acts undertaken by, or liabilities of, the company.

This independence or distinction is not a new concept. In the late 19th Century, the judgment in the classic case of Salomon v. Salomon[1] was passed, ruling that a company is a separate legal entity distinct from its members and so insulating Mr. Salomon, the founder of A. Salomon and Company, Ltd., from personal liability to the creditors of the company he founded.

Continue Reading LIC v. Escorts and Beyond – Lifting the Corporate Veil

Crackdown on shell companies MCA amends the Companies Incorporation Rules to provide for additional physical verification of registered offices

Background:

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”), vide notification dated August 18, 2022, notified the Companies (Incorporation) Third Amendment Rules, 2022, which further amended the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014 (“Companies Incorporation Rules”), through the introduction of Rule 25B. This amendment sets out the process to be followed by the Registrar of Companies (“ROC”) to carry out physical verification of a registered office of a company.[1]

Continue Reading Crackdown on shell companies: MCA amends the Companies Incorporation Rules to provide for additional physical verification of registered offices

Policyholder Data Sharing in India

Introduction

With a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy, the Indian government[1] launched the Digital India initiative and mindful of its impact, it has been taking several steps to ensure greater accessibility as well as greater safety around internet based services. This, coupled with heightened internet based services and digital connectivity,[2] led the government to launch several digital services[3] and some are remarkably successful – these range from unified payments interface (UPIs) to DigiLocker[4]. According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the rising use of UPIs strongly indicate that more and more people in India are adopting a digital lifestyle[5] – UPI saw its highest ever number of transactions in April 2022 at 5.58 billon, amounting to INR 9.83 trillion. DigiLocker hit the mark of 101 million users on March 19, 2022, evidencing the adoption and success of this initiative[6].

Continue Reading Policyholder – Data Sharing in India – Time for Consent – Based Regime?

The Supreme Court clarifies the law and lays down the guidelines

INTRODUCTION

 The Supreme Court of India has in its recent landmark judgment in Satender Kumar Antil[1] laid down guidelines on the grant of bail to an accused and while doing so, it has reiterated aspects of personal liberty and constitutional guarantees available to an accused under criminal jurisprudence. The Court observed that while its discussion and findings are meant to operate as guidelines, each case pertaining to a bail application is to be decided on its own merits.[2] This article seeks to analyse these guidelines and evaluate their consequences and operation in practice.

Continue Reading Bail or Jail – The Supreme Court clarifies the law and lays down the guidelines

Tracing the Grey Lines Interim Relief in Case of Disparagement Claims in Comparative Advertising

With increased incidences of trade wars between business rivals through commercial advertising in print and electronic media, there is an apparent need to identify the threshold at which the publication of a certain advertisement becomes defamatory or disparaging to another’s product. The Apex Court has declared that the publication of commercial advertisements forms a part of ‘commercial speech’ protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.[1]

Continue Reading Tracing the Grey Lines : Interim Relief in Case of Disparagement Claims in Comparative Advertising

Analysis of recently attempted Voluntary Delistings

The number of voluntarily delistings seen in the last 1 (one) year has surpassed the number of delistings attempted earlier in a single year. Promoters are choosing to voluntarily delist their companies from the stock exchanges for various reasons including stock market price not being reflective of true value of the company’s stock, having full control over operations (without being required to go for any public vote for critical transactions), restructuring of their group entities, greater flexibility and reducing costs related to numerous regulatory compliances.

Even the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced various amendments (mostly for tightening of procedure) under the new SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2021 (2021 Delisting Regulations). The 2021 Delisting Regulations replaced the old SEBI (Delisting of Equity Shares) Regulations, 2009 (2009 Delisting Regulations). However, the key elements of a delisting process i.e. requirement of super majority of minority shareholder being in favour of the delisting proposal and the bidding process through the reserve book build (RBB) mechanism remain the same even under the new 2021 Delisting Regulations. Continue Reading Analysis of recently attempted Voluntary Delistings

security clearance

Background:

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”), vide notification dated June 1, 2022, notified the Companies (Appointment and Qualification of Directors) Amendment Rules, 2022 (“2022 Amendment Rules”), which amended the Companies (Appointment and Qualification of Directors) Rules, 2014 (“Appointment and Qualification Rules”).[1] This amendment states the security clearance requirements needed to hold directorship position in an Indian company, if an individual is a national of a country which shares land border with India.

Continue Reading Raising the wall higher: This time no directorship without security clearance