Monday, March 23, 2015

CSR under Companies Act 2013: From Choice, to Necessity, to Compulsion

CSR is the activity which has to come from heart, executives strive day [and] night for the growth of the company by the help of customers, CSR is a perfect opportunity to pay back to society.”

-       Deepak Kapoor[1]

I.                   Introduction
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility Companies Act 2013 1956
Image taken from here.
The industrial families of the 19th century such as Tata, Birla, Bajaj and Godrej, were strongly devoted to philanthropically motivated, social and economic causes.[2]  Even Mahatma Gandhi’s Khadi movement, which was an integral part of the Swadeshi movement and which encouraged Indians to be self-reliant, received huge support from the Bajaj family.[3] During the Independence phase, Mahatma Gandhi introduced the notion of ‘trusteeship’ which encouraged businesses to establish trusts for educational institute and also helped in setting up training and scientific institutions.
However, according to a survey carried out by Forbes India, only six out of the top 100 companies of India contributed more than 2% of their profits after tax (PAT) to Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities.[4] It is for this reason that a provision for mandatory CSR spend has been included in the Companies Act 2013. According to industry estimates the mandatory CSR laws would apply to about 9,000-10,000 companies.[5] The new provision has received criticism not only from corporations but even from the supporters of CSR theory who believe that CSR activities, though a necessity, must be taken up voluntarily. This article analyses the impact of the Companies Act 2013 on the Corporate sector with respect to the new CSR provisions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Intellectual Property Laws v. Anti Trust Laws

("This paper was awarded first prize in the Sir Dinshah Mulla Legal Essay Writing Competition 2011 and thereafter published in the annual college magazine of Government Law College, Mumbai".)

“The aim and objectives of patent and antitrust law may seem, at first glance, wholly at odds. However, the two bodies of law are actually complementary, as both are aimed at encouraging innovation, industry and competition.”[1]

 In today's economy, companies must innovate if they wish to succeed and endure. The emerging scenario in India appears to be one of domination of industries such as information technology, communication and other knowledge based industries. Companies generate capital and employment by producing new ideas and incorporate them into products to give rise advanced products which the consumers have not only not seen but not even imagined. Consumers, in turn, benefit enormously from these innovations. Hence, it is of the utmost importance that our economic laws, including Anti Trust and Intellectual Property Laws, create a legal environment that fosters and does not suppress innovation.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fraud Claims in Arbitration

Arbitration improves access to justice. It enhances the likelihood of recovery. It delivers speedier results. It keeps costs down. For many, it is a superior option to the expensive, slow, cumbersome ways that have come to typify our civil justice system.”[1]

-           Peter B. Rutledge

Scales Justice Arbitration
Indian Courts have in several decisions held that matters, in which grave allegations of fraud, conspiracy or misappropriation are made, are too serious to be tried by arbitrators. Therefore, in India, and several other countries, such matters cannot be the subject-matter of arbitration. This view has also been upheld by the Supreme Court of India in N. Radhakrishnan vs Maestro Engineers[2] (“N Radhkrishnan”). The Courts have given various reasons for holding that arbitrators are incompetent to hear such matters. Reputation of the party, ineffectiveness of arbitration where substantial amount of documentary evidence needs to be produced and lack of legal knowledge of the arbitrator, are some of the most cited reasons for limiting the scope of arbitration by such a huge extent. It is also necessary to consider the impact of such a limitation on Indian arbitration law, from an international commercial arbitration perspective.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Specific Performance of Agreement for Sale - Leave under clause XII of Letters Patent

Bombay High Court trademark lawThe Hon’ble Bombay High Court has held in Annete Bulchandani vs Mrs. Iris Fernandes & Ors that a suit for specific performance of an agreement for sale of land situated outside the jurisdiction of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court will be maintainable in the Court, after seeking leave under Clause 12 of the Letters Patent, even if the proposed Plaintiff has alternatively  prayed for setting aside sale of the land to a subsequent transferee. Judgment  can be found here