In a significant order passed on June 28, 2023, in the case of Ronak Industries vs. Assistant Commissioner Central Excise & Customs & Ors. (“Ronak Industries Case”), the Bombay High Court has upheld the priority of dues of secured creditors as laid down under Section 26-E of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (“SARFAESI Act”). To pass the order, the Bombay High Court has relied on its previous decision in Jalgaon Janta Sahakari Bank Ltd. and Anr. Vs Joint Commissioner of Sales Tax Nodal 9, Mumbai and Anr. and the decision of the Supreme Court in ICICI Bank Ltd. vs. SIDCO Leathers Ltd.and held that the dues of a secured creditor, upon registration of the charge with the Central Registry of Securitisation Asset Reconstruction and Security Interest of India (“CERSAI”), would rank in priority to the dues of the department of the Government.Continue Reading Priority Of Dues Under SARFAESI: Bombay High Court Reiterates
Partner and Head in the Dispute Resolution Practice Area at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Indranil has extensive experience in a wide range of disputes, both of a general commercial litigation nature as well as public and regulatory disputes. His experience is diversified across numerous sectors including financial regulation, health, sports, local government, planning and environment and public sector projects. Indranil also routinely advises the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in relation to their contracts and tenders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (“MNRE”) has issued an order dated June 07, 2023 (“Order”), to bring about important changes to the dispute resolution mechanism for disputes between Renewable Energy Power Developers/ Engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) Contractors and designated Renewable Energy Implementing Agencies (“REIA”). The Order aims to provide a time-bound, transparent and unbiased platform for resolving disputes in the renewable energy sector.Continue Reading Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) revises Dispute Resolution Mechanism for Renewable Energy Projects
On 18th May 2023, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in B&T AG v. Ministry of Defence(“B&T”) ruled that mere negotiations, as in the case of a civil suit, will not postpone the cause of action for the purpose of computing limitation for initiation of arbitration.
This decision, although consistent with a long line of judgments in the context of computation of period of limitation for arbitral claims, waters down the progressive view taken by the Supreme Court in the case of Geo Miller & Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. (“Geo Miller”).Continue Reading Time spent in contractually mandated pre-arbitral negotiations not excluded – SC in B&T AG v Ministry of Defence
The Government of India (“Government”) had announced a one-time voluntary settlement scheme through the Union Budget 2023-24 to settle contractual disputes involving the Government of India or its undertakings. This voluntary settlement process would also be applicable to disputes that have resulted in arbitral awards or court decrees or court orders upholding arbitral awards (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Award”) under challenge. The scheme is called Vivad se Vishwas II (Contractual Disputes). A draft scheme was published for circulation and was open for public comments till March 8, 2023.Continue Reading Execution meeting spirit of the text will determine success of Vivad se Vishwas II
SEBI has recently revised the materiality threshold for obtaining shareholder approval for related party transactions (“RPTs”) under Regulation 23(1) of the SEBI (LODR) Regulations, 2015 (“LODR”), to cover RPTs that exceed INR 1000 crore or 10% of a listed entity’s annual consolidated turnover (as per the last audited financial statements), whichever is lower.
The revised materiality threshold has come into effect on April 1, 2022, and this change assumes significance, as prior to April 1, 2022, there was no absolute numerical threshold for RPTs that require shareholders’ approval.
This also raises the question as to whether an absolute numerical threshold of INR 1000 crore could potentially be considered as violative of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
In this post, the authors aim to probe deeper into this constitutional aspect and examine some of the arguments that can be made from both sides of the spectrum.Continue Reading Revised threshold of Rs. 1000 Crore for ‘material’ RPTs under LODR – Does it pass the Article 14 test?
The Supreme Court’s judgment in Jaypee Kensington Boulevard Apartments Welfare Association & Ors vs. NBCC (India) Ltd. & Ors. (“Jaypee Decision”) has laid down some new requirements whilst reinforcing several old ones in relation to the insolvency resolution regime of the country. In this article, we examine and discuss the implications of the rights of dissenting financial creditors as held in the Jaypee Decision on the corporate insolvency resolution process.
Continue Reading ‘CASH ONLY’ to dissenting financial creditors – Supreme Court in Jaypee
The Supreme Court in the case of Avitel Post Studioz Limited v. HSBC PI Holdings (Mauritius) Limited (“Avitel Case”) has recently engaged with the question of whether allegations of fraud can be adjudicated in arbitration, or whether they require adjudication before a court. In its judgment, the Court has laid down clear tests to determine when a dispute involving allegation of fraud is arbitrable, and when it would require adjudication before a court.
Continue Reading Avitel v. HSBC – Finality on the Question of Arbitrability when Allegations of Fraud are Raised SMM
Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act) sets out the grounds on which arbitral awards passed in domestic arbitrations and international commercial arbitrations seated in India can be set aside. As regards foreign awards (i.e. arbitral awards passed in foreign seated arbitrations), whilst the same cannot be challenged in India, the enforcement of the same in India can be validly objected to by the award debtor on grounds that are set out in Section 48 of the Act. The grounds for setting aside arbitral awards passed in domestic arbitrations and international commercial arbitrations seated in India under Section 34 of the Act and the grounds for refusing enforcement of foreign awards in India under Section 48 of the Act are substantially identical. One such ground is if the arbitral award is found to be contrary to the “public policy of India”.Continue Reading Supreme Court’s judgment in Vijay Karia v. Prysmian Cavi e Sistemi S.r.l.: Impact on challenges to awards passed in International Commercial Arbitrations conducted in India
Online gaming, particularly fantasy sports, has witnessed a surge in the Indian market primarily due to easy internet access and increase in digital usage. The number of fantasy sports operators increased seven-fold between 2016 and 2018, whereas the user base grew over 25 times between June 2016 and February 2019. Investments upto USD 166 million (approx.) were made in fantasy sports operations during 2018 -2019. While no valuation of the industry as a whole is readily available, Dream11, the largest fantasy sports operator in India was estimated to be valued at approximately USD 1-1.5 billion in April 2019.
The growth of fantasy sports has raised questions on its legitimacy and legality in India. Fantasy sports are legally recognised in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Canada, France and in most states in USA. In India, the High Courts of Punjab & Haryana, Rajasthan and Bombay have clarified that fantasy sports are games of “skill” rather than “chance” and, therefore, do not amount to gambling. These decisions have encouraged participation in such sports and led to its growth in India.
Continue Reading Supreme Court to have its say on legality of Fantasy Sports
It is trite that a company is a separate legal entity, and is distinct from its members. As Lord Sumption observed in Prest v Petrodel Resources Ltd., “The separate personality and property of a company is sometimes described as a fiction, and in a sense it is. But the fiction is the whole foundation of English company and insolvency law.” Equally sacrosanct is the principle that arbitration proceeds on the basis of an agreement between parties. After all, “like consummated romance, arbitration rests on consent”. However, practical considerations have led to the marginal dilution of these otherwise fundamental principles.
There are instances where a company and its members are not treated as separate legal entities (i.e. where the corporate ‘veil’ is pierced). Similarly, there are cases where arbitral proceedings enjoin non-signatories. A unique amalgam of these exceptions is found in cases where an arbitral award is sought to be executed against an entity that was never a party to the arbitral proceedings. For example, in Cheran Properties Limited v. Kasturi and Sons Limited and Ors. (“Cheran Properties”), applying the ‘group of companies’ doctrine expounded in Chloro Controls, and analysing Section 35 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) to ascertain who “persons claiming under them” would be for the purpose of binding such persons to the arbitral award, the Supreme Court permitted enforcement of an arbitral award against a third party/non-signatory. In this post, however, our focus is on whether Indian courts have pierced the corporate veil to execute an arbitral award against a third party to the arbitral proceedings when such third party’s unique relationship with the award debtor has been exploited to fraudulently circumvent or frustrate execution of the arbitral award.
Continue Reading The Pursuit of Enforcement – Can the Corporate Cloaks be Unravelled?