Our attorneys and specialists remain up-to-date with the latest legal developments and offer their perspectives and critical commentary.


International Trade & WTO

Anti-absorption provisions – A new chapter in trade remedial investigations in India

26 February 2021

Union Budget 2021-22 proposes introduction of anti-absorption provisions in the legal framework governing anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations. The article deals with questions like what is absorption, what is its purpose and the relevant changes as proposed in the Sections 9 and 9A of the Customs Tariff Act, 1975. The author also highlights the difference in the anti-absorption provisions for ADD and CVD and discusses certain aspects of the EU’s anti-dumping framework.

Goods and Services Tax

CGST Rule 96(10) and its inadvertent consequences

24 February 2021

CGST Rule 96(10) has seen conflicting interpretations, retrospective amendments and challenges. Deliberating on the interpretation of the word ‘person’ used in said rule, the article attempts to answer the question as to whether other registrations of a company, which availed benefit of Advance authorisaiton/EOU scheme in one registration, become ineligible to claim IGST refund on exports. The author discusses both propositions – multiple registrations, and multiple units in same registration.

Direct Tax

Faceless Penalty Scheme, 2021

19 February 2021

The article discusses the recently introduced Faceless Penalty Scheme, 2021 effective from 12 January 2021. The authors highlight various salient features of the Scheme like, authentication and delivery of electronic record, absence of physical interface between the assessee and revenue authorities, team-based proceedings and dynamic jurisdiction, etc., while also elaborating on the procedure to be followed in penalty proceedings and in proceedings for rectification.

Intellectual Property

A legal tussle of music rights

18 February 2021

The article discusses elaborately a recent decision of the Delhi High Court on the question as to whether the communication of a sound recording to the public also amounts to communication of the literary and musical works embodied in the sound recording to the public. It was also held that the 2012 amendment in Section 19(10) of the Copyright Act was not retrospective in nature.


Indian startups – A booming revolution

16 February 2021

The article highlights the recently introduced Startup India Seed Fund Scheme for providing financial assistance to startups and the measures taken by the SEBI under the Innovators Growth Platform (‘IGP’) framework. A recent amendment in the Companies (Compromises, Arrangements and Amalgamations) Rules by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, further simplifying the restructuring avenue for startups, also forms part of this article.

Intellectual Property

Design (Amendment) Rules, 2021 – Key changes

30 January 2021

The Designs (Amendment) Rules 2021 (‘Amendment Rules’) have been published in the Gazette of India on 25 January 2021 by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The Amendment Rules come into effect from said date and further amend the Design Rules, 2001 which has been previously amended vide the Designs (Amendment) Rules, 2014. The article discusses elaborately, certain key changes brought in by the Amendment Rules.

International Trade & WTO

Retrospective imposition of anti-dumping duty in anti-circumvention investigations

30 January 2021

The article discusses as to whether, in anti-circumvention investigation, the anti-dumping duty should be imposed retrospectively from the date of initiation of the such investigation or from the date of the final findings in the said investigation. Going through the recent decision of the Designated Authority the authors hold that though the Authority has rightly interpreted Rule 27 but, the soundness of the reason may come under challenge…

Goods and Services Tax

Unhappy toy story – A classification conundrum under GST

27 January 2021

The article intends to demystify the controversial issue relating to the classification of different kinds of toys under GST. It raises the question as to whether the toys like guns, skipping ropes, musical toys and the toys which fall under the scope of ‘other toys’ in the HSN explanatory note to Heading 9503, can be classified under Sl. No. 228 of Schedule II (12% GST) to Notification No. 1/2017-Central Tax (Rate).

Competition and Antitrust

A multi-jurisdictional review of legislative trends in antitrust regulation of digital markets

27 January 2021

Big-tech giants are under constant scrutiny by antitrust regulators globally. There is also consensus that the existing antitrust framework are not sufficient for addressing various competition and privacy challenges. As a result, different jurisdictions are working on amending their current laws to deal with the issues emanating from the practices of the giants of the digital markets. This article discusses the major legislative and policy developments being proposed in India, US, EU and UK.

Intellectual Property

Patent application disposal – Quantity at the cost of quality?

22 January 2021

The article discusses at length the recent decision of the IPAB in the case of Wisig Networks Private Limited v. Controller. Observing that the case was a victim of hurried disposal of the patent applications, the IPAB held that although certain degree of check on quantitative performance of the officers at the IPO is essential, but the qualitative performance of the officers cannot be ignored. Highlighting the importance of a reasoned order, the author is also of the view that…

Direct Tax

Dividend payments to non-residents – DTAA relief on the horizon?

21 January 2021

The article discusses at length the recent decision of the ITAT Delhi in the case of Giesecke & Devrient [India] Pvt Ltd. v. Addl. CIT. The decision provides a major relief to the taxpayers on the rate of tax applicable on dividends paid by an Indian company to its overseas parent. The ITAT has held that tax rates specified in the DTAA in respect of dividend must prevail over the rate provided under Section 115-O of the Income Tax Act, 1961 for Dividend Distribution Tax.


Policy changes to the Corporate Social Responsibility mandate

14 January 2021

The introduction of Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020 is the second attempt to decriminalize various offences, the first one being the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019. The article discusses at length the various amendments made by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020 related to the Corporate Social Responsibility (‘CSR’) mandate, and their implications. It analyses issues like carry forward of excess spend, penalty for non-compliance and new thresholds for formation of CSR Committee.

International Trade & WTO

One step forward, two steps backward: Non-implementation of anti-dumping duty recommendations

31 December 2020

The final findings issued by the DGTR are purely recommendatory in nature and come into force only after acceptance thereof and issuance of gazette notification imposing the levy within three months from the date of publication of the final findings in the gazette by the DGTR. The recent cases show that the MOF has been playing a more active role in exercising its discretion in deciding whether to impose anti-dumping duty.

Goods and Services Tax

GST on services provided in the course of employment

23 December 2020

Employers often arrange for various facilities such as transportation, canteen, healthcare, insurance, for their employees. The article discusses the questions as to whether the said facilities arranged by the employer amount to supply of services and whether GST is applicable on the nominal amounts recovered from the employees. The author traces the history of the controversy, right from the service tax...

Direct Tax

Compulsorily Convertible Debentures: Debt or Equity?

21 December 2020

Compulsorily Convertible Debentures (‘CCDs’) are hybrid instruments, being debt at the time of issue along with a certainty to get converted into equity. Since the guidelines on FDI treat CCDs as equity for the purposes of reporting to the RBI, a question arises as to whether they are to be regarded as equity capital under all other laws as well. The article discusses the question from the perspective of income-tax law, observing that the return on debt and equity have distinct treatment...

Intellectual Property

Patents – IPAB reaffirms principles of natural justice while discussing prior art documents and description

16 December 2020

The article discusses elaborately, the recent decision of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board reaffirming the importance of the principles of natural justice in judicial and/or quasi-judicial decisions, whilst also clarifying aspects of patent law with respect to cited prior art documents and description of the invention. The IPAB criticised the Controller of Patents for having taken a contrary view as to the patentability...


Issuance and transfer of securities – Stamping requirements

11 December 2020

The Finance Act, 2019 introduced various amendments to Indian Stamp Act, 1899. Further, the Indian Stamp (Collection of Stamp-Duty through Stock Exchanges, Clearing Corporations and Depositories) Rules, 2019 was also introduced. With respect to transfer of shares where no consideration amount is involved, a cost-effective mechanism has been introduced since such transfer does not attract stamp duty. Possibility of availing benefit of this can be explored in transactions such as gift of shares…

International Trade & WTO

Participation in trade remedy investigations – First impressions matter

30 November 2020

An important facet of trade remedy investigations, especially, anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations is that if a producer/exporter from the country facing such investigation fully ‘cooperates’, the investigating authority acknowledges this and awards a duty basis the data presented by such party. This article aims to broadly explain ‘cooperation’ and the guidelines which a producer/exporter may keep in mind to ensure that their participation is treated as ‘cooperation’


Customs in-bond manufacturing – Old scheme with new prospects

27 November 2020

With export promotion schemes like EOU, SEZ and EPCG being challenged at the international forums, alleged to be in violation of the WTO agreement, the thrust of the government has now shifted to age old scheme of duty deferment and manufacturing in customs bonded warehouse. The article makes a case for shifting to such scheme. Discussing various aspects of the Customs in-bond manufacturing...

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