16 Aug 2019

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in a recent judgement, answered the question of whether “special allowances” would fall within the expression “basic wages” for Provident Fund (PF) contribution in the affirmative. Interpreting the provisions of Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (PF Act) as a beneficial social welfare legislation, the Court affirmed the PF authorities’ factual conclusion that the allowances in question were essentially a part of the basic wage camouflaged as part of an allowance so as to avoid deduction and contribution to the provident fund account of the employees. In essence, the Court reiterated the principle laid down in prior rulings that where the wage is universally, necessarily and ordinarily paid to all across the board, such emoluments are basic wages and employers had to expressly prove the special treatment in the special allowance for it to be kept out of the purview of calculations for PF purposes. >>

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12 Aug 2019

The government has introduced a slew of tax measures in the union budget 2019 directed at taxing rich individuals and entities. One of these measures was the proposal to levy tax on listed companies when they buy back shares from the shareholders. The imposition of 20% tax on share buyback which was earlier applicable only to unlisted companies drew in a lot of flak and concerns from corporate giants. The stipulation was brought in as an anti-abuse provision to discourage buyback of shares and encourage dividend distribution to shareholders in case of surplus earnings by a companyThere was a feeling that listed companies took to the buy-back route to avoid paying the dividend distribution tax (DDT) pegged at an effective rate of 20.5576%. Therefore, it was deemed essential to plug this loophole that corporates were exploring to evade taxes. However, it is unfair to look at the corporate action of share buyback from such a narrow perspective. Apart from being a tax saving option, buyback also increases earnings per share of the company, avail positive debt-equity ratio and facilitates an exit route to shareholders. On that account, the government needs to issue clarification regarding the applicability of the announcement to existing buyback proposals and other legal implications of the same >>

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09 Aug 2019

A conducive intellectual property (IP) environment and facilitation of innovation ecosystem have furthered India’s ranking in international indices. Similarly, in the domestic scenario, increased awareness, expanding business incentives and administrative reforms have shown marked progress in the Indian IP regime. The Annual Report 2017-2018 which was recently released by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM)[i] establishes, through statistics, the improvement that the office has seen in the past year. Through this post, we look at the headway the office has made in its patent activity in the reported year.>>

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07 Aug 2019

The looming crisis concerning Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) necessitated some quick action on the part of the government to stabilize the shaking consumer confidence on the shadow banking sector. Although scholars are still confident of the sector’s performance as a whole but delayed disbursement caused by liquidity crunch was seen as a cause of concern that required quick redressal to attain balance.  >>

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01 Aug 2019

While most debates surrounding the existence of a person before birth and after death are theological or philosophical in nature which could go on endlessly, the debate concerning the right of a yet-to-be-existent person needs to be settled conclusively. Especially, ascertaining property rights of an unborn is essential as it has a direct implication on the rights of other existent individuals. Although the Indian laws recognize the existence of an unborn as a legal person, rights are not granted until the birth of the child. Further, while a child in a mother’s womb is considered as a person for many purposes, the extent of the unborn child’s personal or proprietary rights has not been categorically determined. The unborn is regarded by legal fiction as already born for creation of interest in a property.>>

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31 Jul 2019

In this digital era, data has become one of the most valuable assets to own. Elections have been won and international alliances have toppled because of support that could be garnered by utilizing data analytics. While heated debate surrounding data breaches by private entities baffles the world, at home, the Indian Government has monetized from sale of personal data of Individuals, apparently in the pretext of “public purposes”.>>

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25 Jul 2019

We often hear that various Government’s both at the central and state level are trying to achieve Ease of Doing Business (“EoDB”) and Ease of Living (“EoLiving”). However, in terms of land, both EoDB and EoLiving is still a distant dream. It must be noted that EoDB, with respect to land, has been adversely affected due to the existence of corrupt practices in land transactions, the existence of multiple litigations and lack of credibility of land records. Similarly, in order to achieve EoLiving, the concerns of the farmers and small landholders with respect to litigations, encroachments, etc., must be efficiently addressed. It is imperative that the aforementioned concerns are sufficiently addressed by the Government (both at the Centre and the States) through its initiatives which increases the confidence of the businessmen, investors, and people of India, in general, on the credibility of land titles.>>

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24 Jul 2019

India’s economic growth in the last three decades has not seen a parity in terms of workforce participation. Essentially, India has one of the lowest labour force participation rates (LFPR) for urban women – one that has stayed consistently below 25 percent, and in some states below 15 percent. Having a young child in the home depresses mothers’ employment, an inverse relationship that has intensified over time. Therefore, motherhood places a “penalty” on almost all female workers, unless formal or informal institutions step in to share care responsibilities with women or female wages are high enough to compensate for the monetary and non-monetary costs of childcare.[i]>>

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19 Jul 2019

Recurrent cases of insider trading in eminent corporates has necessitated periodic updation of regulations to meet the needs of the ever-evolving market. The social culture of casually discussing or watsapping Unpublished Price Sensitive Information (UPSI), that is not only difficult to track but also poses evidentiary challenge in the court, needed immediate overhauling. Further, placing all the investors trading in the secondary market on equal footing to ensure symmetrical flow of information among them is exemplar of the non-partisan philosophy that the regulatory authority strives to establish. Towards this objective, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), on the recommendations of Shri T. K. Vishwanathan’s Committee on Fair Market Conduct, introduced a myriad of changes through an amendment to the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015 which came into effect in April 2019. Notwithstanding the earnest intention behind the modifications, the amendments are not infallible and could encounter a lot of implementation challenge.>>

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10 Jul 2019

The Specific Relief Act, 1963 (SRA) was amended last year with the objective of changing the approach from ‘damages being the rule and specific performance being the exception, to specific performance being the rule, and damages being the alternate remedy’. These amendments were made to encourage foreign investment in India and make laws more business friendly. The expert committee set up for the purpose, in its report dated 26.05.2016[i], recognized the increasing complexity of large projects, and particularly the public interest involved in contracts with the Government and Government agencies for infrastructure development, public-private partnerships and other public projects involving huge investments. Consequently, the Legislature introduced changes to specifically address the infrastructural need of the country. The Amending Act received presidential assent on August 1, 2018 and came into force on October 1, 2018.>>

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