Tuesday, August 11, 2020

ANNUAL NLSIR SYMPOSIA

The National Law of India Review (NLSIR) Symposium is the flagship event of the Student Advocate Committee which seeks to provide a platform for a discourse on topical legal issues. It is an opportunity to ensure that the recent developments in an emerging area of law, their impact and the theoretical and practical ramifications of an ongoing legal controversy are discussed.
The previous editions of the NLSIR Symposium have witnessed insightful discussions from leading practitioners and academics on contemporary issues in a wide array of subjects ranging from intellectual property rights and arbitration to corporate governance and taxation. As a result, the Annual NLSIR Symposium has gradually earned the reputation of being a unique forum for the consideration of contemporary legal developments from a practitioner’s perspective. In the words of Hon’ble Dr Justice A. R. Lakshmanan, the Symposium has ensured that “the wisdom of today’s intellectual powerhouses is available for the consumption of posterity”.

The discussions from the past editions of our symposiums can be found in our themed volumes, which is also the second volume of the NLSIR every year. These can be found here.

The XIII NLSIR Symposium was themed on the constitutional, jurisprudential, theoretical, and political basis for reservations, and expansion of its scope, in India. While the reservation policies have not been free of contestation, they have survived and expanded their reach over the years, and are now entrenched in Indian constitutional law and politics. The Opening Session, titled ‘Reservations: Rethinking Roots in Constitutionalism’ revisited the jurisprudential and political principles of reservations, including utilitarian understandings of efficiency and diversity, sociological theories delving into the criticality of intergenerational privilege to success and merit, and critical race theories’ insights on extending reservations to different groups. With this theoretical background, the session sought to reconceptualize ‘merit’, ‘efficiency’, and ‘social and educational backwardness’ in social hierarchies of capitalist India.
The Second Session sought to locate the various trends of reservations in Indian ‘Policies and Precedents’. The deliberations commenced with an analysis of the Supreme Court’s role in the practice and implementation of reservations. They evolved into the governmental commissions that ultimately realise reservation, and the rationale employed by the government to determine whether a community must be reserved for, including the methodological and empirical approach followed to justify reservations. It closed with a discussion on the role of the peoples’ movements in various regions of the country, and their impact on expanding the debate and the delimitations of reservations. The Final Session, on ‘Deepening and Widening Affirmative Justice’, sought to address the way forward of India’s tryst with reservations. It addressed concerns on the effectiveness of entry-level affirmative action, ameliorating post-entry integration mechanisms, to comprehend questions of deepening reservations. Thereafter, the session deliberated ways to expand the recognised markers of discrimination in India, to include women and sexual minorities, among others. The Session closed with a discussion on whether the quota-based reservations has outlived its utility, and it was time for India to reconceptualize its delivery of affirmative action.

PANEL I: RESERVATIONS: RETHINKING ROOTS IN CONSTITUTIONALISM

• Dr. Anand Teltumdbe, Professor, Goa Institute of Management, and Civil Rights Activist

• Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, National Law School of India University, and co-founder of the Centre for Law and Policy Research.

• Prof. N. Sukumar, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi

• Dr. Sumit Baudh, Associate Professor and Executive Director, Centre on Public Law and Jurisprudence, Jindal Global University.


PANEL II: MAPPING THE RESERVATIONS LANDSCAPE: POLICIES AND PRECEDENTS

• Mr. D. Shyam Babu, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research.

• Dr. Anup Surendranath, Executive Director, Project 39A, and Professor, National Law University, Delhi

• Ms. Kiruba Munusamy, Advocate, Supreme Court of India


PANEL III: DEEPENING AND WIDENING AFFIRMATIVE JUSTICE

• Dr. Amitabh Kundu, Distinguished Fellow at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (New Delhi), and former Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

• Dr. Ajay Gudavarthy, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

• Ms. Jayna Kothari, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, and co-founder of the Centre for Law and Policy Research

• Dr. Gurpreet Mahajan, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

The XII NLSIR Symposium sought to discuss the challenges associated with the political, social, and economic integration of migrants, and the eventual grant of full membership as citizens to them, in the context of India. The deliberations focused on the legal framework governing migrants, refugees, and citizenship, and the way forward. The Opening session focused on India’s migration policy in the larger context of the international legal framework governing migration. In the Second session, panelists highlighted the position of refugees in India, and explored the interplay between India’s constitutional guarantees and the obligations under International Law for protection of refugees. The Closing session shed light on citizenship and social, political, and economic integration of persons within India. It was contextualised in the ongoing National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Assam and the (then) pending Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, both of which posed crucial constitutional questions.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

 Hon’ble (Retd.) Justice S. Rajendra Babu, Former Chief Justice of India and Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission


PANEL I: INDIA’S MIGRATION POLICY: INSTITUTIONALIZED STIGMA?

• Mr. Gurucharan Gollerkeri, Director, Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore.

• Ms. Hamsa Vijayaraghavan, Legal Director, Migration and Asylum Project.

• Ms. Madhurima Dhanuka, Coordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.

• Ms. Seeta Sharma, Technical Officer, EU-India CAMM Project, International Labour Organisation


PANEL II: ON SHIFTING SANDS: INDIA’S REFUGEES AND THE WAY FORWARD

• Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Senior Advocate, Former Union Minister of Law and Justice.

• Mr. Saurabh Bhattacharjee, Assistant Professor, National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.

• Dr. Srinivas Burra, Associate Professor, South Asian University.

• Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Advocate in Mohammad Salimullah v. Union of India (Supreme Court of India).

• Ms. Roshni Shanker, Founder, the Migration and Asylum Project.

• Ms. Cheryl D’souza, Advocate in Mohammad Salimullah v. Union of India (Supreme Court of India).


PANEL III: COURTING ISSUES OF CITIZENSHIP

• Mr. Alok Prasanna Kumar, Senior Resident Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

• Mr. Arijit Sen, Program Manager, Amnesty International India.

• Ms. Leah Verghese, Senior Campaigner & Researcher, Amnesty International India.

The XI NLSIR Symposium was themed on the (then) recently enacted Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016. The Opening Session traced the history of Indian legislations on insolvency and debt restructuring, including the post-independence legislations of Sick Industrial Companies Act, 1985, Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, and the Securitisation And Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, and their relative efficiency in realizing debt restructuring. The Second Session examined the infrastructural mechanisms established by the IBC, including the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India, Information Utilities, and the adjudicatory role of the National Company Law Tribunals. The deliberations focused on the roles, and effective regulation of each of these actors.
The Third Session traced the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process, and its various attempts to breakaway from the pre-IBC models of debt restructuring, including its creditor-in-control model, and stricter check on timelines for CIRP. At the same time, the panelists also brought to the fore, concerns of judicial restraint and discipline, as potential hurdles in the efficiency of the process. The Closing Session saw an exchange on the concerns and possible solutions to effecting Cross-Border Insolvency, especially where assets of an Indian creditor are located in a foreign jurisdiction. While subscribing to the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency seemed to have scholarly backing, the panelists debated the equivocal provisions of the Model Law itself, which may herald potential litigation and delays, should India choose this route.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

 Mr. A.K. Mishra, Technical member of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)

 Ms. Pooja Mahajan, Partner in Chandhiok & Associates


PANEL I: CONFRONTING THE NPA CRISIS: MAPPING THE IBC AND LEGISLATIONS PRIOR TO IT

• Ms. Aparna Ravi - Counsel, Samvad Partners; Member, Banking Law Reforms Committee (Constituted by the Ministry of Finance).

• Mr. Abhilekh Verma - Senior Partner, Kochhar & Co.; Formerly, Partner at Khaitan & Company.

• Mr. Rajeev Dewal - Founder Partner, Dewal & Company; Formerly served as Head (Legal) and In-house Counsel to various banks such as Standard Chartered, RBL Bank, IDBI, Barclays Bank and ING Bank.

• Mr. C.K. Nandakumar - Advocate, High Court of Karnataka; Founder, C.K. Nandakumar & Associates.

• Moderator: Mr. Vishesh Arora, Associate, Khaitan & Company.


PANEL II: IMPLEMENTING THE IBC: CHALLENGES IN BUILDING WHEREWITHAL

• Dr Mamta Suri, Executive Director, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India.

• Mr S Raghunathan, Executive Director & CFO, National E-Governance Services Limited.

• Mr Sanjay Bhatt, Joint Managing Partner, Kesar Dass B & Associates

• Ms Pooja Mahajan, Partner, Chandiok & Associates

• Mr Dhananjay Kumar, Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

• Ms Bhargavi Zaveri, Senior Associate, Finance Research Group, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

• Moderator: Mr Raghuram Cadambi, Advocate, Karnataka High Court


PANEL III: CORPORATE INSOLVENCY: ITS OPERATION AND EMERGING PROBLEMS

• Mr. Satwinder Singh, Partner, Vaish Associates

• Anshul Jain, Partner, Luthra & Luthra

• Ms. Mahima Singh, Senior Associate, Chandhiok & Associates

• Gaurav Gupte: Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas; Specialising in Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency.

• Navin Pahwa: Senior Advocate, Practicing before NCLT Ahmedabad bench.

• Arjun Gupta: Head, Insolvency Practice at Nishith Desai Associates.

• Moderator: Mr. Raghuram Cadambi, Advocate, Karnataka High Court


PANEL IV: CROSS-BORDER INSOLVENCY: IMPACT ON FOREIGN CREDITORS AND ASSET RECONSTRUCTION COMPANIES (ARCS)

• Mr. Aditya Patel (Moderator), Associate, Keystone Partners

• Mr. Ran Chakrabarti, Partner, IndusLaw

• Vivek Iyer: Partner, Financial Risk Services, PwC; Former Director, Deloitte.

• Mr. Anant Merathia, Founder, Anant Merathia and Associates, Member, ASEAN PLUS Group

The X NLSIR Symposium was themed on the bourgeoning E-Commerce industry in India. The First Session centred on the various Business Models of E-Commerce companies, and Regulation of Foreign Investment, through the DIPP’s FDI Guidelines. The Second Session explored the role of the GST Bill in uniformising Indirect Taxation regime in India, simultaneously examining the suitability of the categorical regime on smaller businesses in the industry. The Third Session examined the interplay between E-Commerce and Competition Law. Panelists discussed relative difficulty in regulating E-Commerce, as well as prevalence of potentially anti-competitive industry practice, such as heavy discounts, and mergers between E-Retail giants. In the Closing Session, the panelists discussed legal liability and compliance of E-Commerce intermediaries. The deliberations centred on protecting intellectual property rights, consumer protection standards, and finally, privacy and data protection under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS:

 Ashish Chandra, General Counsel, Snapdeal


PANEL I: BUSINESS MODELS AND REGULATION OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT

• Chetan Nagendra, Partner, AZB & Partners

• Ashwini V, Partner, SAMVĀD: Partners

• Suhaan Mukerji, Partner, PLR Chambers


PANEL II: INDIRECT TAXATION: CHALLENGES AND CONCERNS

• Samsuddha Majumder, Partner, Trilegal

• Rajesh Simhan, Partner, Nishith Dessai Associates

• Pramod Jain, Head-Taxation, Flipkart

• DP Nagendra Kumar, Principal Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Bangalore

• Moderator: Mr. Nigam Nuggehalli, Professor, Azim Premji University


PANEL III: INTERPLAY BETWEEN E-COMMERCE AND COMPETITION LAW

• Nisha Kaur Uberoi, Partner, AZB & Partners

• Ramji Srinivasan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court

• Manas Kumar Chaudhuri, Partner, Khaitan & Co

• Smita Jhingran, Secretary, Competition Commission of India


PANEL IV: LIABILITY REGIMES: ENSURING COMPLIANCE

• Pranav Mehra, Snapdeal

• Pratibha Singh, Senior Advocate

• Vidushi Marda, The Centre for Internet and Society

• Arun Prabhu, Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

• Moderator: Mr. Arun Binoy Mattamana, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

The IX NLSIR Symposium was themed on the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2014, or the Good and Services Tax Amendment Bill, 2014. The First Session explored the Constitutional Challenges and Concerns, especially the changes to the federal tax-distribution structure, by the introduction of concurrent taxation powers in the GST Bill. The Second Session focused on the Dual System of Taxation on intra-state transactions, and associated challenges. The Third Session centred on Integrated GST, a tax levied and collected jointly by the State and Union Government, and concerns of allocation and transfer of the tax, among others. The Fourth Session anchored the discussion on various procedural hurdles in implementation of the GST, most notably, non-uniformity of registration of assessees, filing of returns, and exemptions, in the pre-GST regime. The Symposium closed with a deliberation on the private sector’s involvement in the GST Network.

PANEL I: CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGES AND CONCERNS

• Mr. N. Venkataraman, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India

• Mr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Faculty, Azim Premji University

• Mr. Alok Prasanna, Senior Research Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy


PANEL II: UNDERSTANDING THE DUAL GST SYSTEM

• Dr. Govinda Rao, Member, 14th Finance Commission.

• Ms. Jayshree Parthasarathy, C.A., BMR & Associates LLP.

• Mr. V. Raghuraman, Advocate

• Moderator: Mr. Alok Prasanna, Senior Research Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy


PANEL III: SESSION III: INTEGRATED GOODS AND SERVICES TAX (IGST)

• Mr. Upendra Gupta, Commissioner CBEC

• Mr. P.V. Srinivasan, PVS Advisors

• Moderator: Mr. Karthik Ranganathan, Guest Faculty, NLSIU


PANEL IV: PROCEDURAL HURDLES AND CONCERNS IN IMPLEMENTING GST

• Mr Arbind Modi, Joint Secretary of Tax Policy & Legislation, Ministry of Finance, Government of India

• Mr Karthik Sundaram, Associate Partner, Economic Laws Practice

• Mr Madhukar Hiregange, Founder, Hiregange and Associates

• Mr TR Venkateswaran, Indirect Tax Director, PwC

The VIII NLSIR Symposium was themed on Competition Law. Despite Indian competition regime having witnessed several interesting developments, the law remined far from being lucid. The Symposium was organised with an aim to fill an important lacunae in the current analysis on the issues that had arisen under the Indian competition law regime. The First Session explored Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002 and determination of anti-competitive agreement more so in the light of multiple inconsistent decisions of the Competition Commission of India. The Second Session focussed on the abusive conduct of dominant enterprises. The aim was to analyse jurisprudence of the CCI and COMPAT which has thrown open the field of discussion with regard to several dimensions of abuse of dominance, for private and public entities alike. The Third Session centred on Mergers and Acquisitions and clearing the Competition Commission of India hurdle and competition between the regulators. The Symposium closed with Fourth Session which anchored the interface of intellectual property rights and competition law in India.

SESSION I: SECTION 3 AND DETERMINING ANTI-COMPETITIVE AGREEMENTS

• Dr. K.D. Singh, Deputy Director (Law), CCI

• Mr. Arjun Krishnan, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

• Prof. Rahul Singh, Assistant Professor, NLSIU Bangalore


SESSION II: THE ABUSIVE CONDUCT OF DOMINANT ENTERPRISES

• Mr. P.K. Singh, Director (Law), Competition Commission of India

• Mr. H.S. "Bobby" Chandhoke, Senior Partner, Luthra & Luthra Law Offices

• Mr Karan Singh Chandioke, Practice Head, Competition and Dispute Resolution, Chandhiok and Associates


SESSION III: MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS: CLEARING THE CCI HURDLE AND THE COMPETITION BETWEEN REGULATORS

• Mr. Murali Neelkantan, Amicus, Formerly Global General Counsel, Cipla

• Mr. Rajat Sethi, Partner, S&R Associates

• Ms Vaishali Sharma, Proprietor, Agram Legal Consultants


SESSION IV: THE INTERFACE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND COMPETITION LAW

• Mr. J Sai Deepak, Senior Associate, Litigation Team, Sai Krishna & Associates

• Dr S.K. Murthy, Patent Counsel, Intel India

• Mr. Paramjeet Berwal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

The VII NLSIR Symposium was themed on “Bridging the Security-Liberty Divide”. The Economist recently dubbed the ten years following the September 11 attacks as “liberty’s lost decade”, not just for the United States of America but for the world at large. As the world grapples with the implications of this clash, one clear winner emerged, perhaps best observed by examining changes in legal systems throughout this decade. Tracing the dialogue between competing notions of security and liberty, the 7th NLSIR Symposium hoped to assess and analyse similar developments in India The First Session explored securing liberty from the state- redefining criminal thresholds in India. The Second Session focussed on intrusive nature of surveillance programs in India and their interface with privacy. The Third Session centred on extradition, asylum and concerns of state security. The Symposium closed with Fourth Session which anchored on connecting the dots as discussed previously.

SESSION I: SECURING LIBERTY FROM THE STATE – REDEFINING CRIMINAL THRESHOLDS IN LAW

• Justice Bilal Nazki, Retd. Chief Justice, Orissa High Court

• Mr. Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Advocate, Bombay High Court

• Mr. Mrinal Satish, Associate Professor, National Law University, Delhi

• Mr. Bharat Karnad, Senior Fellow, National Security Studies, at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi


SESSION II: INTRUSIVE INTELLIGENCE – SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS AND PRIVACY IN INDIA

• Mr. Shyam Divan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India

• Ms. Aparna Chandra, Assistant Professor, National Law University Delhi

• Ms. Chinmayi Arun, Assistant Professor, National Law University Delhi

• Mr. Gautam Bhatia, LL.M. Candidate, Yale law School


SESSION III: BEYOND BORDERS – EXTRADITION, ASYLUM AND CONCERNS OF STATE SECURITY

• Mr. Michael Sanderson, Director, LLM in International Human Rights Law, University of Exeter

• Mr. Bhairav Acharya, Advocate, Delhi High Court

• Dr. Luther Rangreji, Assistant Professor, South Asian University

• Ms. Roshini Shanker, Refugee Status Determination Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees

• Ms. Yamini Pande, Associate Protection Officer, United Nations High Commission for Refugees

• Mr. Douglas McDonald, Researcher, Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers

The VI NLSIR Symposium was themed on Mapping the Future of Commercial Arbitration in India. The First Session explored on the implications of BALCO on arbitration practice. While the decision of BALCO was widely lauded and, in the eyes of most commentators, set right the perceived wrongs of Bhatia International and Venture Global. However, the impact of this decision was yet to be discussed in detail. This is precisely what First Session sought to do. The Second Session focussed on expansive role of the Indian judiciary and its implication. It also discussed on the need to amend the Act to clarify the true import of various sections. The Third Session centred on discussion on determining the governing law of the Arbitration Agreement- Arsanovia and beyond. The Symposium closed with Fourth Session which anchored on institutional arbitration in India. India possessed both, domestic centres such as the Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre, as well as international arbitration institutions such as LCIA India which was established in April 2009. This session was concerned with the performance of these centres in India.

SESSION I: THE IMPLICATION OF BALCO AND ARBITRATION PRACTICE

• Justice Jayasimha Babu, Former Judge, Karnataka High Court and Madras High Court

• Mr. Dharmendra Rautray, Partner, Kachawa and Partners

• Ms Anuradha Lall, Partner, PSA Legal

• Mr. Anirudh Krishnan, Advocate, Madras High Court


SESSION II: REVISITING THE EXPANSIVE ROLE OF THE INDIAN JUDICIARY

• Justice SU Kamdar, Former Judge, Bombay High Court

• Mr. Ashwin Shanker, Advocate, Bombay High Court

• Mr. Airudh Wadhwa, Advocate, Delhi High Court

• Ms. Poornima Hatti, Partner, Samvad Partners

• Mr. Pramod Nair, Partner, JSA


SESSION III: DETERMINING THE GOVERNING LAW OF THE ARBITRATION AGREEMENT- ARSANOVIA AND BEYOND

• Mr. Shreyas Jaisimha, Partner, AZB & Partners

• Mr. Mihir Naniwadekar, Advocate, Bombay High Court

• Mr. Ameya Gokhale, Principal Associate, Khaitan and Co.


SESSION IV: THE WAY FORWARD: A CALL FOR INSTITUTIONAL ARBITRATION?

• Justice KL Manjunath, Judge, Karnataka High Court and President, Karnataka High Court Arbitration Centre

• Mr. Ajay Thomas, Registrar, LCIA India

• Mr. Vivekananda, Head (South Asia) & Counsel, SIAC

The V NLSIR Symposium was themed on recent regulatory changes in corporate mergers and acquisitions in India. The First Session explored the competition regime governing transactions of business in combinations. It also focussed on intense controversy surrounding the sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act, including the efficacy of mandatory notification of all large corporate combinations The Second Session focussed on liberalisation in takeover regulation in India. It analysed the shift in attitude from protectionist to liberalisation and implications of the same. The Third Session centred on cross-border mergers and India’s taxation regime. The focus was on how will India’s taxation regime affect the creation and existence of holding-subsidiary relationships, or mergers and acquisitions in general. The Symposium closed with Fourth Session which anchored on the discussion on Companies Bill, 2011. The new Companies Bill, 2011 proposed sweeping changes to the existing law and therefore legitimately be expected to create ripples in the Indian economic realm, particularly with regard to cross-border Mergers and Acquisitions involving India.

SESSION I: THE COMPETITION REGIME GOVERNING TRANSACTIONS OF BUSINESS IN COMBINATIONS

• Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Former Chairman, Competition Commission of India

• Mr. Anurag Goel, Member, Competition Commission of India

• Mr. Rajat Sethi, Partner, S&R Associates

• Mr MM Sharma, Head - Competition Law Practice, Vaish Associates

• Mr. Samir Gandhi, Partner, Economic Laws Practice

• Mr. John Thaliath, General Counsel, Tyco Electronics


SESSION II: TAKEOVER REGULATION IN INDIA: LIBERALISATION WITH CAUTION

• Mr. Arvindh Pandian, Senior Advocate & Additional Advocate General of Tamil Nadu

• Mr. V. Umakanth, Assistant Professor, National University of Singapore

• Mr.Sandip Bhagat, Partner, S&R Associates

• Mr. Rohitashwa Prasad, Partner, J. Sagar Associates


SESSION III: CROSS-BORDER MERGERS AND INDIA’S TAXATION REGIME

• Mr. Mohan Parasaran, Additional Solicitor General of India

• Mr. Nisith Desai, Partner, Nishith Desai Associates

• Mr. Ajay Vohra, Managing Partner, Vaish Associates

• Mr. Satwinder Singh, Partner, Vaish Associates

• Mr. K Swaminathan, Director – Tax Practice, Deloitte Haskins and Sells


SESSION IV: THE COMPANIES BILL, 2011: INDIAN COMPANY LAW AT THE CROSS-ROADS

• Justice V Ramasubramaniam, Judge, Madras High Court

• Mr. Uday Holla, Senior Counsel, Karnataka High Court

• Mr. Vivek Reddy, Advocate, Andhra Pradesh High Court

The theme for the IV NLSIR Symposium, ‘India’s Taxation Regime: Perspectives on the Future’, was chosen in light of the likely introduction of the Direct Tax Code [‘DTC’] and the Goods and Services Tax [‘GST’]. The first session dealt with General Anti-Avoidance Rules [‘GAAR’], which were one of the most contentious provisions of the DTC Bill. The second session dealt with the specific theme of ‘Taxation of E- Commerce’. It considered the tax treatment of e-commerce transactions. The third session sought to discuss the specific theme of ‘GST and Interstate Taxation’. In this session, the speakers discussed the implementation of the GST, and its impact on the supply, distribution, and production patterns. The fourth session of the Symposium dealt with the DTC. In this session, the speakers sought to critically assess and analyse the wide-ranging changes that would be brought about through the introduction of the DTC.

SESSION I: GAAR

• Mr. Nishith Desai, Managing Partner, Nishith Desai Associates.

• Mr. Swaminathan K, Former Director, Global Business Tax, Deloitte India.

• Mr. Ravishankar Raghavan, Tax Counsel, Majumdar & Partners.

• Mr. Sunil Jain, Partner, J Sagar & Associates.


SESSION II: TAXATION OF E- COMMERCE

• Mr. Padamchand Khincha, Partner, HC Khincha & Co.

• Mr. S Ananthanarayanan, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP.

• Ms. Shreya Rao, Partner, AZB & Partners.

• Mr. Mihir Naniwadekar, Advocate, Bombay High Court.


SESSION III: GST AND INTERSTATE TAXATION

• Mr. Ananth Padmanabhan, Advocate, Madras High Court

• Mr. K Vaitheeswaran, K Vaitheeswaran & Co.

• Ms. Jayashree Parthasarathy, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP.

• Mr. Naveen Kumar, Advocate, Karnataka High Court.


SESSION IV: DIRECT TAX CODE AND CONCLUDING SESSION

• Justice Jayasimha Babu, Former judge of the Karnataka High Court and Madras High Court.

• Mr. Aseem Chawla, Partner, ASC Legal.

• Mr. Swaminathan K, Former Director, Global Business Tax, Deloitte India.

• Mr. Rupesh Jain, Partner BMR Advisors

• Sunil Jain, Partner, J Sagar & Associates.

• Mr. Subramanian Krishnamani, Senior Director, Deloitte Haskins & Sells.

Corporate Governance was chosen as the broad theme for the III NLSIR Symposium. The theme of the first session was, ‘The Corporate Veil and Tax Planning’. It considered the difficulties that Indian courts have faced in reconciling the legality of tax avoidance with the principle that the corporate veil may be lifted. The theme of the second session was, ‘Role of the Independent Director and the Statutory Auditor in Modern Corporate Governance’. In this session, speakers considered the functions of independent directors and auditors, and questioned whether they were able to perform their basic functions under the current regime. The third session dealt with the specific theme of, ‘Company Adjudication and Tribunalisation of Justice’. The fourth session dealt with the theme of, ‘The Road Ahead for Indian Corporate and Commercial Law’. Here, the discussion centred around the idea that the 1956 Act was no longer suitable. The speakers also discussed the Companies Bill, 2008, and some of its salient features.

SESSION I: THE CORPORATE VEIL AND TAX PLANNING

• Ms. Bijal Ajinkya, Partner, Direct Tax, Private Client and Investment Funds Practice Group, Khaitan & Co.

• Mr. Padamchand Khincha, Partner, HC Khincha & Co.

• Mr. Udaya Holla, Former Advocate General of Karnataka.

• Mr. Sanjit Rajayer, Former Senior Legal Manager at ITC Limited, and JD student at Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa.


SESSION II: ROLE OF THE INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR AND THE STATUTORY AUDITOR IN MODERN CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

• Mr. V Umakanth, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore.

• Mr. Somashekhar Sundaresan, Independent legal counsel with focus on company law, competition law, securities law, and investment law.

• Prof. Sandeep Parekh, Managing Partner, Finsec Law Advisors.


PAPER PRESENTATION:

• Ms. Priyoma Majumdar, Head of Legal, Pharmeasy, and Ms. Sadapurna Mukherjee, Partner, WM Law Chambers.


SESSION III: COMPANY ADJUDICATION AND TRIBUNALISATION OF JUSTICE

• Mr. Vivek Reddy, Advocate, Supreme Court of India.

• Ms. Kristin van Zwieten, Associate Professor of Law and Finance, University of Oxford.

• Mr. Aditya Sondhi, Senior Advocate, Karnataka High Court.

• Mr. Nathan Rehn, Former Assistant Professor, Jindal Global Law School

• Mr. Ami Galani, Vice President, Business Development, DICK’s Sporting Goods.


SESSION IV: THE ROAD AHEAD FOR INDIAN CORPORATE AND COMMERCIAL LAW

• Mr. T P Ostwal, Managing Partner, TP Ostwal & Associates LLP.

• Mr. Siddharth Raja, Partner, Saakshya Law.

• Mr. Sandip Bhagat, Partner, S & R Associates.

• Mr. Shishir Vayttaden, Partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

The II NLSIR Symposium engaged with the topic of commercial arbitration in the Indian context. It focused on two related, yet distinct themes, first, whether the Supreme Court had rewritten international arbitration concepts in India, and second, whether this change (if any), had been consistent with the aims and goals of arbitration. The first session, ‘The Expansive Role of the Indian Judiciary and its Implications’ considered the Indian judiciary’s wide interpretation of the Arbitration Act. The session discussed the issue of the judiciary’s practices, which effectively thwarted the very objective behind arbitration- quick and speedy resolution outside of the court. The second session was entitled, ‘Arbitration, Commercial Implications and the Unification Movement’. The session tried to assess the fundamental premises of the unification movement, and the efforts that member nations had to put in, so as to take the concept forward. The third session dealt with investment arbitration and MFN clauses. The fourth and final session was entitled ‘Domestic Arbitration- ‘The Scope of Arbitrability and Applicable Law’. This session dealt with multiple diverse aspects, such as, whether the Arbitration Act is comprehensive, and whether it has any limitation of arbitrability with respect to the service sector.

SESSION I: THE EXPANSIVE ROLE OF THE INDIAN JUDICIARY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS

• Mr. Gourab Banerji, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Overseas Associate, Essex Court Chambers, London.

• Mr. Udaya Holla, Former Advocate General of Karnataka.

• Mr. Hiroo Advani, Managing Partner, Advani Co.

• Mr. Gautam Bhatia, Advocate and D.Phil Candidate at University of Oxford.


SESSION II: ARBITRATION, COMMERCIAL IMPLICATIONS AND THE UNIFICATION MOVEMENT’

• Mr. Siddharth Raja, Partner, Saakshya Law.

• Mr. Ajay Thomas, Independent arbitrator.

• Mr. Surya Kiran Banerjee, Associate, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.


SESSION III: INVESTMENT ARBITRATION AND MFN CLAUSES

• Mr. Stephen York, Former Partner Reed Smith, and Former Head of Dispute Resolution Practice (Middle East), Hogan Lovells.

• Ms. Jo Delaney, Partner, Dispute Resolution Team, Baker & McKenzie.

• Mr. Anthony Sinclair, Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.

• Mr. Devashish Krishan, International arbitration specialist.


SESSION IV: DOMESTIC ARBITRATION: THE SCOPE OF ARBITRABILITY AND APPLICABLE LAW

• Hon’ble Justice N Kumar, Former judge of the Karnataka High Court.

• Hon’ble Justice (Retd) Jayasimha Babu, Former judge of the Karnataka High Court and Madras High Court.

• Mr. Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, Madras High Court.

• Mr. Aditya Sondhi, Senior Advocate, Karnataka High Court.

The I NLSIR Symposium was themed on the theoretical justifications for patents, India’s obligations and roles as a signatory to TRIPS, the issue of pharmaceutical patents, and an analysis of the judicial attitudes towards patents law and legislation in India. The first session tried to tackle the issue of whether the need for a patent system existed in the first place. The deliberations centred around the conflict between the ‘tragedy of the commons’ and the ‘tragedy of the anti-commons’. The second session delved into India’s role as a signatory to the TRIPS. It considered some key concerns that India had with respect to the TRIPS. The third session centred on debates surrounding pharmaceutical patents. It looked at the role played by law in maintaining a balance between innovation, and the need to secure drugs, especially for those who cannot afford them. Issues such as compulsory licensing, parallel imports, incremental innovations, and evergreening, where discussed in this session. The fourth session considered the role of the judiciary vis-à-vis the patent law system. It looked at aspects such as patent law and traditional public law adjudication.

SPEAKERS:

• Hon’ble Justice P P Naolekar, Former judge of the Supreme Court of India.

• Hon’ble Justice A R Laksmanan, Former judge of the Supreme Court of India, former Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court and Andhra Pradesh High Court.

• Prof. Shamnad Basheer, Legal scholar and Intellectual Property Rights expert.

• Prof. Anil Gupta, Visiting Faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

• Mr. Prashant Reddy, Advocate.

• Prof. Feroz Ali Khader, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

• Prof. Srividhya Raghavan, Professor of Law, Texas A&M University School of Law

• Mr. Zakir Thomas, Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Board of Direct Taxes.

• Mr. Ashutosh Kumar, Principal, AnchayilKumar- Advocates.

• Ms. Meera Jayakumar, Management Consultant, Oliver Wyman.

• Mr. A Harshavardhan, Partner at Harshavardhan & Associates.

• Mr. Ajay Prasad, Principal Associate, Kochhar & Co.

• Ms. Varsha Iyengar, Partner, Arka Law.

SYMPOSIA GALLERY