Photo of Vardaan Ahluwalia

Partner in the Finance and Insolvency Practice at the Bangalore office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Vardaan specialises in corporate insolvency and banking & finance laws. He has worked on various insolvency processes under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, and also regularly advises banks, non-banking financial institutions and strategic investors on structured finance and finance regulatory compliance. He can be reached at vardaan.ahluwalia@cyrilshroff.com

Overriding the IBC’s over-rider

Insolvency resolution regimes, globally, function as an exception to otherwise accepted norms of commercial law.[1] The Indian Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code”), is no exception: a mere glance at the Code will display how it has a liberal sprinkling of non-obstante clauses.[2] From a specific dispute resolution mechanism, to an overarching carve out for insolvency resolution mechanism, the legislature has inserted non-obstante clauses in the Code as guidance of its intent. One would imagine that this would have ensured sufficient clarity for all stakeholders, avoided disputes and ensured timely insolvency resolution. Yet, as market participants try to understand the scope and intent of non-obstante clauses in the Code, such clauses continue to generate legal debate and litigation[3]. Perhaps, the stakes are too high for the parties to resist litigating. And some would argue not without good legal reason: after all, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has over the years identified exceptions[4] to the Latin maxim ‘leges posteriores priores contraries abrogant’ i.e. in the event two special statutes contain non obstante clauses, the non-obstante clause in the chronologically later special statute shall prevail[5].
Continue Reading Overriding the IBC’s Over-Rider?

IBC Second Amendment Bill 2019

The edifice of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”) was conceptualised on ideas such as promoting ‘maximisation of value of assets’, ‘a transparent and predictable insolvency law’,  ‘avoiding destruction of value of the debtor’ and recognising the difference between ‘malfeasance and business failure’.[1] In the three years since the enactment of the IBC, many areas in the insolvency resolution process  have required judicial and legislative interventions to enable the process to achieve the desired results.

Among others, the ongoing investigations against insolvent entities and the risk of cancellation of critical government contracts during the insolvency process, were identified as key impediments to strategic interest in the stressed market. The introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 (“Bill”), by the Government, is a step that will help overcome such ‘critical gaps in the corporate insolvency framework’.[2]
Continue Reading IBC Second Amendment Bill, 2019: Finishing Touches to the Indian Restructuring Landscape

 Group Insolvency Norms

The recognition of a company’s separate juristic personality by the UK’s House of Lords in its landmark ruling in Salomon v. Salomon A Company Ltd.,[1] remains the basis for modern corporate law.[2] The ruling in effect drew a corporate veil around the legal personality of the company thereby establishing the separate legal identity of a corporate.

While India also follows the separate juristic personality of corporates as a general principle, exceptions have been incorporated over the years by way of legislative action[3] and juridical pronouncements.[4] In the context of insolvency law, the corporate veil is typically lifted in instances where a group company could be held liable for the debts of its associate and subsidiary companies, or if a group of companies functioned as a collective.
Continue Reading Staggered Lifting of the Corporate Veil: A Case for Group Insolvency Norms

Foreign Portfolio Investor - Corporate Debt - Voluntary Retention Route

As the Indian economy has grown over the years, so have the means of raising foreign debt by Indian companies. What began with limited investment channels for foreign banks and certain qualified institutional investors, has now flourished into a robust foreign debt investment market. Based on the commercial considerations driving a deal, Indian corporates can now raise ECBs under multiple tracks, issue various kinds of rupee denominated bonds, or avail of monies through fund structures such as alternative investment funds (AIFs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Added to this mix is the foreign portfolio investment (FPI) route. What sets FPI apart is the degree of commercial flexibility it accords to investors and companies. For example, end-use and pricing norms applicable to FPI investments are relatively relaxed. Because of this, FPI is often the preferred option for raising debt, particularly short-term debt and working capital funding requirements.[1]
Continue Reading Investment through the Voluntary Retention Route: Fresh Push for FPI in Corporate Debt?

data privacy protection bill India

We are moving towards a data centric world, and “data is the new oil”[1]. And few would disagree that a key debate today in finance is ‘trust and privacy vs. using data for business growth’. As modern day businesses look to adapt themselves to generate revenue from customer related data, regulators across the world are grappling with the formulation of effective laws to regulate the data-driven economy. Given the relative novelty of the concept, regulators are reflecting on fundamental questions such as the right to privacy, property rights over data and the right to use the collected data.

In India, the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) has been fairly forward looking, by passing various regulations and constituting a host of committees to address issues ranging from cyber security to customers data protection norms.[2] In almost all its regulations, RBI has adopted a data privacy framework similar to the one advocated by the Justice BN Srikrishna Committee in its Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 (“DP Bill”) – an amalgamated framework consisting of consent-and-notice and the vesting of certain rights with the originators of such information.[3] Undoubtedly, the DP Bill will have an impact on the manner in which data is collected, processed and shared by the financial industry. With this as the background, the authors seek to analyse the impact of the DP Bill on businesses engaged in the financial sector.
Continue Reading In the throes of Data Protection (and the associated woes) lies the business of trust