LEX-LUMIS

The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015

The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill, 2015 (“Bill”) was passed by the Indian Parliament on 23 December 2015 and is deemed to have come into force on 23 October 2015. Some salient features of the Bill are:

“Commercial dispute” has been defined to include, inter-alia, any dispute related to transactions between merchants, bankers, financiers and traders such as those relating to mercantile documents including enforcement and interpretation of such documents, construction and infrastructure contracts,

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India relaxes Foreign Direct Investment Norms and Promotes Ease of Doing Business

The Government of India has vide Press Note No. 12 dated 24 November 2015 introduced a number of amendments to the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy across various sectors, which include enhancing sectoral caps, opening sectors for foreign investment, bringing additional activities under the automatic investment route and generally easing conditions for foreign investment and doing business in India.

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Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015

The Supreme Court in the case of Dashrath Rupsingh Rathod v. State of Maharashtra and another ((2014) 9 SCC 129) held that “the territorial jurisdiction is restricted to the Court within whose local jurisdiction the offence was committed, which in the present context is where the cheque is dishonoured by the bank on which it is drawn” as against the then prevalent practice of filing complaints under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (“Act”) before the court in whose jurisdiction the cheque was presented for payment.

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Compliance Window and the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Rules, 2015

The Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance has:

vide a press release dated 1 July 2015 notified the compliance window under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015. In this regard, all declarations in respect of undisclosed assets located outside India must be made on or before 30 September 2015 in order to avail the benefits of the compliance window. Once declared, tax and penalty in respect of the foreign assets so declared must be paid by 31 December 2015;

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RBI issues fresh Master Circulars

The Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”), in line with its annual practice, has issued updated sets of Master Circulars on 01 July 2015 under various heads including banking regulation, co-operative banking, currency, financial markets, foreign exchange and payment systems which can be accessed on

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Clarification on repayment of deposits accepted before the commencement of the Companies Act, 2013

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) vide a clarification dated 18 June 2015 has stipulated that in cases where a company has committed default in repayment of deposits which were accepted by such company before the commencement of the Companies Act, 2013 (the “Act”) (i.e. 1 April 2014), the depositors may seek remedy by filing an application (in accordance with section 73 (4) of the Act) with the Company Law Board.

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Foreign Investments by Non-Resident Indians, Persons of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizens of India

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (“DIPP“) has issued Press Note No. 7 (2015 Series) dated 3 June 2015 (“Press Note 7“) pursuant to which the ‘Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment Policy Circular of 2015′ dated 12 May 2015 (“FDI Policy”) relating to investments by Non-Resident Indians (“NRIs“), Overseas Citizen of India (“OCIs“) and Persons of Indian Origin (“PIOs“) has been amended.

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Government issues Integrated Companies Incorporation eForm to ease the incorporation process

As a measure to improve the ease of doing business in India, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) has issued an Integrated Incorporation Form which consolidates multiple forms required for the incorporation process into a single online application form – eForm INC-29. Consequently, with effect from 1 May 2015, persons looking to incorporate any class of companies (including public/ private limited companies, one person company but not including companies with charitable objects) may make an application to the concerned registrar of companies (“RoC”) in the prescribed eForm INC-29 online. Key features of the eForm INC-29 are as follows

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Amendment to Foreign Direct Investment Policy

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India has issued Press Note 4 of 2015 on 24 March 2015 amending the Consolidated Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy Circular of 2014 with immediate effect to permit 49% FDI in the pension sector. Within this limit FDI up to 26% is under the automatic route and above that up to 49% is under the Government route.

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Fine structure for failure to comply with composition of Board of Directors by listed companies

The Securities Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”) on 17 April 2014 had amended clause 49 of the Equity Listing Agreement relating to corporate governance mandating that listed entities should have an optimum combination of executive and non-executive directors with at least one woman director on their board. The timeline to comply with the aforementioned requirement was extended from 15 September 2014 to 31 March 2015.

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