Photo of Arun Prabhu

Partner in the General Corporate Practice at the Bengaluru office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Arun is part of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) group and has special expertise in advising clients in the electronics, information technology enabled services, outsourcing and information technology sectors. He was also a member of the Government of India’s working group on the legal enablement of information and communication technology systems.Arun was described as a “very effective and highly knowledgeable” lawyer by Chambers and Partners in 2011. He can be reached at arun.prabhu@cyrilshroff.com

Cryptocurrency in India

On March 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of India (“Court”) in Internet and Mobile Association of India v. Reserve Bank of India[1] (“Judgement”) set aside the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) on April 6, 2018 (“Circular”)[2]. This Judgment marks the second occasion, in recent times, when the Supreme Court has reversed a policy decision of the RBI [3]. The Circular had restricted all entities regulated by the RBI, including nationalised banks, scheduled commercial banks, NBFCs, cooperative banks, payment system operators and other intermediaries (“Regulated Entities”) from dealing in or providing services for facilitating ‘any person or entity dealing with, or settling’ virtual currencies.

Thus, while the Circular did not expressly proscribe peer-to-peer trading in virtual currencies, it severely restricted the conversion of virtual currency into fiat currencies and impaired the ability of businesses which dealt with virtual currencies to access financial services in India.
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Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 - Analysis

A draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (“Bill”) has been introduced before the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019.

The Bill is based, in large part, on the proposed draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (“Draft Bill”) which was attached to the report submitted to the Government by the Committee of Experts constituted under the Chairmanship of Justice Srikrishna (Retd.) (for details see our analysis[1] of the Draft Bill and its comparison with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation[2] (“GDPR”)[3] ).

That being said, the Bill also includes several modifications and changes in scope and intent.
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This piece reviews the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations on “Privacy, Security and Ownership of Data in the Telecom Sector” released on July 16, 2018 (Recommendations) and attempts to highlight some of their more immediate potential consequences.

Consultations are typically taken up by TRAI based on requests from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). In the instant case, the TRAI has atypically put out the consultation and subsequently the Recommendations of its own volition, without an explicit mandate on the subject.

TRAI recommendations are approved and implemented by the DoT pursuant to the procedure under Section 11 of the TRAI Act, 1997. This process may involve the DoT seeking clarifications, modifications or otherwise referring items back the TRAI.

This process may turn out to be more complex in connection with the current set of Recommendations, given that much of their content recommends the passing of broad-ranging new legislation that is not limited to only the telecom sector.


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