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


Direct Tax

Dissecting Section 80M of the Income Tax Act - The known and the unknown

17 March 2020

The Finance Bill 2020 (referred to as the ‘Bill’) proposed plethora of amendments in the Income Tax Act, 1961 (referred to as the ‘Act’) on different aspects. One such amendment was to relieve corporates from paying distribution tax on dividends (‘DDT’) and going back to the old school ways of taxing such dividends in the hands of the shareholders.

Intellectual Property Rights

Right to paternity of contribution in cinematographic film – Analysis of the CHHAPAK case

16 March 2020

In the case of Fox Star Studios (Division of Star India Private Limited) v. Aparna Bhat & Ors.[ CM (M) 15/2020], a Single Judge of Delhi High Court vide its order dated 11th January 2020, held that once a person has contributed to any cinematographic film in any manner, then as per the moral rights, he/ she has right to paternity.

Banking & Finance

Digital payments - Revised framework on monetary penalties is a step towards transparency

11 March 2020

India has seen rapid advancement in the FinTech industry in the last couple of years leading to increased number of transactions, entry of number of non-banking players, availability of multiple online payment modes, etc. This evolving sector is majorly regulated by the Reserve Bank of India by way of issuance of guidelines, directions, policies, instructions from time to time.

Goods and Services Tax

GST on ocean freight – Smooth sailing ahead for assessees?

25 February 2020

Taxation of a cross-border transaction is one of the most complex and disputed areas of litigation. Further, the recent trade wars between the major economies of the world are adding fuel to the fire. One specific industry which had been largely immune from GST or VAT is the shipping industry undertaking international transportation. Most major economies have chosen not to levy GST or VAT on transactions involving movement of goods internationally.

Direct Tax

Benami law and retrospectivity - Analysis of Rajasthan High Court decision in Niharika Jain v. Union of India

20 February 2020

New-age laws that seek to remedy economic wrongs are interesting. Economic wrongs could be civil or criminal in character. Clearly, any person who cheats and deprives people of their property is an offender and is a threat to the society at large. He needs to be dealt with through a criminal law. However, another person who breaches a contractual obligation would need to cough up damages and a civil law would be apt and sufficient to deal with this private matter.

Intellectual Property Rights

To Grant or Not to Grant Interim Injunction - Conflicting decisions by co-ordinate Benches of same High Court in pharmaceutical patent infringement suits

18 February 2020

Two co-ordinate Single Judge Benches of the Delhi High Court have arrived at opposing conclusions as to whether to grant interim injunction or not in favour of the Plaintiffs/Patentee in a batch of patent infringement suits instituted by Astrazeneca AB and others against various Defendants[ Micro Labs Limited, Natco Pharma Limited, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, Emcure Pharmaceuticals Limited and MSN Laboratories Limited.] in relation to a pharmaceutical composition

Corporate Advisory

Convertible Notes – A case of square pegs in a round hole!!

11 February 2020

Given the dynamic and volatile nature of India’s start-up ecosystem, start-up(s) are always in the look-out for innovative and cost-effective fund-raising opportunities. To promote start-up(s), the government also upgrades regulatory norms and practices, in alignment with prevalent economic conditions and market dynamics.

Goods and Services Tax

Intermediary services - Taxability of cross-border services after withdrawal of circular

29 January 2020

Cross-border supplies (import and export) of goods and services generally entail the presence of an intermediary. Such an intermediary is usually a subsidiary of the foreign principal which undertakes facilitation as well as provision of various services on behalf of the principal. Each such case involves provision of two independent supplies, i.e., one from the principal to the ultimate customer and another from the agent to the principal.

International Trade & WTO

Use of ‘Particular Market Situation’ provision in Anti-dumping Investigations

22 January 2020

Article 2 of the WTO Anti-dumping Agreement provides for provision regarding determination of dumping. As per Article 2.1, a product is considered as being dumped if the export price of the product is less than the normal value. Article 2.1 of the Anti-dumping Agreement provides that domestic selling price of like article in the exporting country shall be considered as normal value.

Intellectual Property Rights

Patentability of computer related inventions

22 January 2020

In the case of Ferid Allani v. Union of India and Ors., a single judge of the Delhi High Court vide its order dated 12 December 2019, directed the Indian Patent Office (IPO) to re-examine the petitioner’s Indian patent application in the light of observations of the court on patent eligibility of computer-related inventions (CRIs).

Direct Tax

Tax laws seeking to regulate NBFCs whether resulting in unintended hardships?

20 January 2020

Being regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (‘RBI’), Banks and Non-Banking Finance Companies (‘NBFC’) are required to follow the norms for asset classification, income recognition and provisioning laid down by the Central Bank. The regulations require every NBFC to categorize assets into different buckets and create provisions for bad and doubtful debts at specified percentages.

Independent Directors and mandate of online proficiency test: Approbation or mere disdain?

07 January 2020

With the objective of thriving good corporate governance, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) on October 22, 2019 notified the Companies (Creation and Maintenance of databank of Independent Directors) Rules, 2019 (“Databank Rules”) in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Sections 150 and 469 of the Companies Act, 2013 (“CA 2013”).


Demand without challenging assessment – Is it sustainable?

27 December 2019

The ruling of the Supreme Court in ITC v. CCE, Kolkata [2019 (368) ELT 216] has been quite unsettling for the assessees, as their refund claims are being rejected on account of non-challenge to the assessment. However, this ruling is likely to pose an issue for the department as well.

International Trade & WTO

The Appellate Body’s disintegration: Is this the WTO’s “Infinity War” or is there an “Endgame”?

26 December 2019

On 10th December 2019, the terms of two WTO Appellate Body ("AB") members – Mr. Ujal Singh Bhatia (from India) and Mr. Thomas Graham (from the United States) – came to an end, and they subsequently demitted office.

Direct Tax

Situs of application of income vis-à-vis the expenditure made abroad for charitable purpose in India

19 December 2019

The Income-tax Act, 1961 (“the Act”) provides for various benefits to a trust formed for charitable or religious purposes. Section 11 of the Act exempts the income derived from property held under trust for charitable purposes from taxation, inter alia, to the extent to which such income is applied for such purposes ‘in India’. The phrase ‘applied for charitable purposes in India’ has been a subject matter of litigation in the recent past.

Intellectual Property Rights

Exploring the requirement of sufficiency of disclosure in patent specification

16 December 2019

A patent is a monopoly granted to an applicant in return for his invention being made public so that at the end of the patent term, the invention may benefit the people at large. The disclosure in a patent specification can also be used during the term of the patent for further development of the technology.

Corporate Advisory, Regulatory Laws

The draft E-Commerce Rules - Moving towards protectionism

09 December 2019

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, recently, on November 11, 2019, under Section 101(1)(zg) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 issued a draft set of rules on e-commerce titled the Consumer Protection (e-commerce) Rules, 2019 (“Draft Rules”).

Intellectual Property Rights

The right to cross-examine in a post-grant opposition

29 November 2019

In the case of Onyx Therapeutics Inc v Union of India , a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court vide its order dated September 26, 2019 held that once the Patentee has filed its reply-statement, the Patentee is not required to provide any separate reasons for cross-examination of the witnesses whose affidavits are filed by the Opponent in support of its Post-grant Opposition.

Direct Tax

Taxation of income from shipping business

29 November 2019

The shipping industry plays a vital role in the international trade. The recent UNCTAD report provides that more than four fifths of world merchandise trade by volume is carried by sea. Indian companies also generally use foreign vessels or avail the carriage services of foreign shipping companies for transportation and other business activities. The amount paid to these foreign shipping companies may be taxed in India if the income accrues or is received in India.

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