News from the Companies
M&A deals drop by 45% in value terms in October in comparison to one year ago
Merger and Acquisition (M&A) deals in the month of October dropped by 45 per cent in value terms and 40 per cent in volume terms compared to the corresponding period last year. The total number of M&As reported in October 2019 was worth $1.5 billion as against $2.8 billion a year ago. In volume terms, it was 28 deals as compared to 47 deals last year.
Grant Thornton’s M&A Dealtracker data shows that deals included one valued at over $500 million and three deals valued at and over $100 million each, totalling to $1.4 billion and accounting for 91 per cent of the total M&A deal values.
While the overall M&A deal values and volumes declined, the month witnessed an 1.8 times increase in deal values despite a 22 per cent fall in deal volumes as compared to the previous month (September 2019), showing signs of improved deal sentiment and appetite for big ticket deals. Read more
ED finds prima facie case against JPMorgan in Amrapali scam
The Enforcement Directorate on December 2 told the Supreme Court it has found prima facie evidence that global financial firm JP Morgan violated the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the matter pertaining to the now defunct Amrapali Group.
The ED, represented by Joint Director Rajeshwar Singh, told a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra that it has recorded the statements of the company’s country head in connection with the firm’s dealings with the realty group and that it will soon wrap up its investigation on the multi-national firm and submit its report in the apex court on the next hearing scheduled on December 13. Read more
Lead Legal Stories from Around the World
Citing the Indian Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling revoking section 377 of the IPC, a Zimbabwe high court has given a landmark verdict holding discrimination against transgenders as unlawful.
Justice Francis Bere extensively quoted and agreed with the Indian judges in the case relating to transgender people, saying they are entitled to enjoy civil rights in Zimbabwe like anyone else.
“I have no doubt that although the focus in the Supreme Court of India was on the rights of the Indian Citizens, there is international flavor in the Court’s analysis of transgender citizens and their expectations. I draw an analogy with our own Constitution whose elaborate bill of rights speaks to no discrimination against the citizen’s rights and I derive maximum inspiration from the analysis made by the Indian Court on issues to do with transgenders,” reads the verdict dated November 14. Read More
China introduces new, strict laws on copyright, IPR
China has issued new, tougher guidelines for protection of patents, copyrights and other intellectual property to deal with problems such as piracy that plague the country and cause tremendous economic losses.
The new order strengthened laws for protecting intellectual property rights, increased compensation for infringements and stricter enforcement of existing laws. The new laws also lower the threshold for criminal prosecution of IPR offences and include confiscation of illegal income and destruction of counterfeit goods.
The decision seems to have been deliberately taken at a time when a push is required for the slow progress in trade talks with the United States, though Chinese authorities have not said so. Read more
Using its law to combat misinformation and fake news for the first time on November 25, Singapore ordered a politician from an opposition party to correct a Facebook post that allegedly used “false and misleading” statements to smear the government’s reputation.
The legislation, which came into force in October, gives government ministers powers to order social media sites to mention warnings next to posts that authorities consider as false, and to even take them down in extreme cases.
Rights activists and tech giants including Google and Twitter have criticised the law saying it could stifle online dissent. Read more
Latest Indian Legal Stories of the week
The National Green Tribunal has asked Chromeni Steels Private Limited, a joint venture of a Chinese steel manufacturer and four industry groups of India, to stop its activities at its stainless steel plant in Mundra taluka of Gujarat’s Kutch district on grounds that it has not obtained environment clearance.
Passing an interim order on November 21 on a plea by a village sarpanch in Kutch, the NGT directed Chromemi Steels to halt operations at its plant until the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) made its stance clear over the requirement of environment clearance for the plant.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had laid the foundation stone of the plant in January, 2018. According to the information on the company website, the plant started production in May this year and the company has a target of installing capacity for producing one million tonnes of cold rolled coils of stainless steel by December this year. Read more
An uncle-nephew duo, part of a corporate-style smuggling syndicate and accused under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act, had to go back to jail after the Supreme Court restored their detention orders while putting aside a Delhi high court verdict.
Ashok Jalan and Amit Jalan, accused of being masterminds of a large number of cases of gold smuggling and hawala transactions, were arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) by an order issued on July 2 under the COFEPOSA Act.
Seizures of about 420 kgs of gold valued at about Rs.120 crore and of USD 7,50,000 in cash are attributed to them, as per the DRI.
Setting aside the Delhi HC verdict, a three-judge bench of the apex court in its order dated November 22 observed that the “High Court has committed a grave error in quashing and setting aside the detention orders and interfering with the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority”. Read more
While acquitting three persons in a 2007 case of murder, a Maharashtra court has asked the investigating officer to pay Re 1 from his salary to each of them as compensation after holding him responsible for falsely implicating them in the case.
Thane District Judge S B Bahalkar held the investigating officer (IO), R B More, responsible for the mental and physical agony faced by the three accused who were booked under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence).
The judge said there was no evidence to prove the accused guilty and noted that the investigating officer had falsely implicated them. Read more
Judgment of the Week
[Hon’ble Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Surya Kant and V.Ramasubramanian; 27-11-2019]
SC – The Hon’ble SC has struck down the deletion of Section 26, together with the insertion of Section 87, into the Arbitration Act by the 2019 Amendment Act as being manifestly arbitrary under Article 14 of the Constitution and found the challenge to the provisions of the Insolvency Code to be devoid of merit. The SC has also opined that NHAI is a statutory body which functions as an extended limb of the Central Government and performs governmental functions which cannot be taken over by a resolution professional under the Insolvency Code, or by any other corporate body. Nor can such Authority ultimately be wound-up under the Insolvency Code.
LQ’s Latest Supreme Court Judgments 2019
N. Mohan v. R. Madhu
[Hon’ble Justices R.Banumathi, A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy; 21-11-2019]
SC-The Hon’ble SC while dealing with the Appeal against the Madras HC order has held that when the defendant has filed appeal under Section 96(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure against an ex-parte decree and if the said appeal has been dismissed, thereafter, the defendant cannot file an application under Order IX Rule 13 CPC which speaks of conditions under which an ex-parte decree can be set aside. This is because after the appeal filed under Sec. 96(2) of the Code has been dismissed, the original decree passed in the suit merges with the decree of the appellate court. Hence, after dismissal of the appeal filed under Sec. 96(2) CPC, the appellant cannot fall back upon the remedy under Order IX Rule 13 CPC.
Kapilaben v. Ashok Kumar Jayantilal Sheth Through Poa Gopalbhai Madhusudan Patel
[Hon’ble Justices Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Aniruddha Bose; 25-11-2019]
SC – Partly allowing the Appeals and directing the original vendees to pay the damages, the Hon’ble SC has opined that in order to assess the assignment of the interest it has to be seen whether the terms of the contract, and the circumstances in which the contract was entered into, lead to an inference that the parties did not intend to make their interest therein assignable. In a case where the contract is of personal nature, the promisor must necessarily show that the promisee was agreeable to performance of the contract by a third person/assignee, so as to claim exemption from the condition specified in Section 40 of the Indian Contract Act. If the promisee’s consent is not obtained, the assignee cannot seek specific performance of the contract.
Gurjit Singh v. The State Of Punjab
[Hon’ble Justices Navin Sinha and B.R. Gavai; 26-11-2019]
SC – Maintaining the conviction under Section 498-A of IPC and setting aside the conviction under Section 306 of IPC, the Hon’ble SC has held that merely because an accused is found guilty of an offence punishable under Section 498-A of the IPC and death has occurred within a period of seven years of marriage, the accused cannot be automatically held guilty for the offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC by employing the presumption under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act. Unless the prosecution establishes that some act or illegal omission by the accused has driven the deceased to commit suicide, the conviction under Section 306 would not be tenable.
M/S. Uttarakhand Purv Sainik Kalyan Nigam Limited(UPNL) v. Northern Coal Field Limited
[Hon’ble Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi; 27-11-2019]
SC – Directing the issue of limitation to be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal, the Hon’ble SC opined that Section 16 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act is an inclusive provision which would comprehend all preliminary issues touching upon the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. The issue of limitation is a jurisdictional issue, which would be required to be decided by the arbitrator under Section 16, and not the High Court at the pre-reference stage under Section 11 of the Act. Once the existence of the arbitration agreement is not disputed, all issues, including jurisdictional objections are to be decided by the arbitrator.
Union Of India v. Ramesh Bishnoi
[Hon’ble Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran; 29-11-2019]
SC – In a case involving denial of appointment of the respondent to the post of sub-inspector, the Hon’ble SC held that even if a juvenile is convicted, the same should be obliterated so that there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile. The respondent, who was a minor when the charges had been framed against him, had disclosed about the charges and his acquittal on the basis of no evidence having been adduced by the complainant. The SC ruled that the same can also not be said to be a suppression on the basis of which he could be deprived of a job for which he was selected after following due process and appointment having been offered to him.