Schemes and the Amendment to the Takeover Regulations

Schemes of arrangement have been a favoured route for corporates to acquire shares of listed companies, given the many obvious pros of acquisitions undertaken through a court/ National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) based scheme of arrangement. Schemes have also been used to undertake group level restructurings, a consequence of which could be the indirect transfer of shares of a listed company from one group company to another.

One of the biggest advantages of acquiring shares in, and/or control over, a listed company pursuant to a scheme of arrangement is that such an acquisition is exempt from the requirements of making a mandatory open offer under the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations, 2011 (Takeover Regulations), subject to certain conditions being met.
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Private Equity Blog - Control Deals Acquisition

Private equity (PE) investors have traditionally invested in the Indian marketplace as ‘financial investors’, acquiring a minority stake in their target with negotiated contractual rights to oversee their financial investments.

The past few years have borne witness to the trend of acquiring “controlling stakes” in the target. Data gathered from public sources suggest that the total value of control deals in India went up from USD 4.8 billion in 2017 to USD 5.9 billion in 2018.
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stamp Act amendments 2019

The key amendments that the Finance Act, 2019 proposes to the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 have been examined in Decoding the Amendment to the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 for Debentures – Part I. The impact of the amendments on debentures have also been analysed against the prevailing stamping arrangement for debentures.

This second part deals with the interplay between the definitions of ‘debentures’ and ‘securities’ under the Amendment, and issues relating to the implementation of the Centralised Collection Mechanism (CCM).
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Amendments to the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 for Debentures

The Finance Act, 2019[1] (Amendment) proposes to make some significant amendments to the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (Act). The primary objective of the Amendment is to set up a zero-evasion centralised collection mechanism under which stamp duty is collected through one agency, at one place and on one instrument for securities market transactions.

It also seeks to standardise the stamp duty payable on issuance, sale and transfer of securities market instruments. It does so by removing multiple instances of stamp duty, waiving stamp duty on certain instruments, and removing the ability of the State Governments to determine rates or levy stamp duty in addition to the Act[2].
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Surrogacy Bill and ART Bill in India

India is currently facing a declining fertility rate and a changing social structure, with late marriages and single parenthood becoming more common. In light of this, does the proposed ART Bill and Surrogacy Bill restrict or enhance the reproductive choices available to Indian citizens?

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), as commonly understood, comprises procedures such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), intra-uterine insemination (IUI), oocyte and sperm donation, cryopreservation and includes surrogacy as well. Social stigma of being childless and lengthy adoption processes have increased the demand for ART in India. It is thus not surprising that the ART industry is expected to grow by a compounded annual growth rate of 10%.

No legislation currently regulates ART in India. In 2002, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laid out guidelines for surrogacy. Further, in 2005, the ICMR issued the ‘National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India(ICMR Guidelines), which inter alia, prescribed the conditions that ART clinics need to comply with. Both the above initiatives did not have any legislative backing. Thereafter, the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill (ART Bill) was first proposed in 2008, with the final version being brought out in 2017. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 (Surrogacy Bill) was passed by the Lok Sabha in December, 2018, and is currently pending Rajya Sabha approval. 
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Banning of Unregulated Schemes Ordinance, 2019

In the aftermath of the Saradha scam, the Standing Committee of Finance (Committee) in its 21st report dated September 21, 2015 suggested the introduction of a comprehensive regulatory framework governing all entities engaged in activities involving acceptance of deposits from the public. While making this recommendation, the Committee observed that certain entities were engaged in financial as well as non-financial activities and therefore, it was difficult to identify the appropriate regulator for such entities. Such entities fall under the jurisdiction of various regulatory bodies and in spite of overlapping regulations, several such entities were not regulated by any regulator.

In view of the suggestions of the Committee, a high level Inter-Ministerial Group (Group) was formulated for identifying gaps in the existing regulatory framework. The Group suggested the enactment of a comprehensive central act to criminalise the solicitation, promotion, acceptance and/or operation of ‘unregulated deposit schemes’. In line with the recommendations of the Committee and the Group, the Banning of Unregulated Schemes Ordinance, 2019 (Ordinance) was promulgated on February 21, 2019.
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IRDAI clarification Written Mandate under the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations, 2018

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) notified the IRDAI (Insurance Brokers) Regulations, 2018 (Brokers Regulations) on January 12, 2018, repealing the erstwhile brokers regulations of 2013. This continues what is now considered an eventful financial year for the insurance regulatory space in India.

The Brokers Regulations improved upon the existing framework for the governance and regulation of insurance brokers- who act as significant intermediaries in the insurance sector. IRDAI, under these new Regulations, prescribed that all insurance brokers are required to comply with the code of conduct (Code of Conduct) set out in Schedule I – Form H of the Regulations.
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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.
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what are Press Notes and legal status of press notes

Vital economic policy issues, such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy have been announced through various Press Notes issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. These Press Notes are not a product of legislative process, nor are they debated before Parliament, and yet they have far reaching consequences on economic policy.
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Contract Enforcement Laws

The Ease of Doing Business rankings released annually by the World Bank currently ranks India at 163 in Enforcing Contracts.[1] The importance placed by the Modi Government on these, and India’s overall dismal performance has forced the government to take several measures, especially in the field of enforcement of contracts.

The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (Contract Act) and the Specific Relief Act, 1963 (Act) are the two primary legislations governing the enforcement of contracts between parties. While the Contract Act lays down the general principles governing contracts and levy of damages for breach thereof, it also provides for an exception of awarding specific relief in the form of specific performance of contracts.
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