Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Agreement between the Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has to be signed.

The Agreement aims to enhance effectiveness of both the countries in investigation and prosecution of crime through cooperation and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. In the context of transnational crime and its linkages to terrorism, the proposed Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with the Federative Republic of Brazil in investigation and prosecution of crime as well as in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds and instruments of crime as well as the fund meant to finance terrorist acts.


[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 22-01-2020]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Malaysia Court of Appeal: A Full Bench of Hamid Sultan Bin Abu Backer, Hanipah Binti Farikullah, Kamaludin Bin Md Said, JCA overturned a decision of a High Court which ordered a tenant to vacant possession and pay double rental to the new owner of a land due to the non-existence of any legal tenancy agreement between the two.  

The appellant/defendant had been a tenant of the land the respondent/plaintiff bought at an auction on 12-09-2019 and hence, the validity of the tenancy agreement was called into question. The defendant contested that the tenancy agreement was until 14-10-2019 but there was no legal proof to support that claim. Essentially, there was no legal backing behind the defendant’s claims while the argument of the plaintiff was bolstered by Section 28(4) of the Civil Law Act, 1956 which allows for entitlement to double rental in case there is no valid tenancy agreement.

The Court of Appeals, however, found no basis for allowing the double rental. On one hand, the respondent does not want to recognise the appellant as a tenant and on the other, he wants double rental based on a tenancy agreement with the previous owner. Stating the same, the Court set aside the judgment of the High Court and said that the appellant should give up possession on the agreed date along with full but not double rental. The Court issues no order as to costs. [Abad Arena Juara Sdn Bhd v. Rajesh A/L Jaikishan, Appeal Civil No. N-04(NCVC)(W)-659-12 of 2018, decided on 26-07-2019]

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

The Union Cabinet approved the signing of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and Protocol between the Republic of India and the Republic of Chile for the elimination of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion and avoidance with respect to taxes on income.

Major impact:

The DTAA will facilitate elimination of double taxation. Clear allocation of taxing rights between Contracting States through the Agreement will provide tax certainty to investors & businesses of both countries while augmenting the flow of investment through fixing of tax rates in source State on interest, royalties and fees for technical services. The Agreement and Protocol implements minimum standards and other recommendations of G-20 OECD Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project. Inclusion of Preamble Text, a Principal Purpose Test, a general anti-abuse provision in the Agreement along with a Simplified Limitation of Benefits Clause as per BEPS Project will result in curbing of tax planning strategies which exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules.

Implementation Strategy and Targets:

After Cabinet approval, necessary formalities for bringing the Agreement and Protocol into force will be completed. Implementation would be watched and reported by the Ministry.


[Press Release dt. 27-11-2019]

[Source: PIB]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: K.R. Shriram, J., dismissed a criminal appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby the accused was acquitted of the charge under Section 138 (dishonour of cheque) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The appellant had initiated a complaint under Section 138 against the accused alleging dishonour of cheque issued by him in favour of the appellant. It was alleged that the subject cheque was issued by the accused for payment of outstanding liability in relation to purchase of grapes from the appellant. The accused did not deny the purchase of grapes; he, however, contended that the subject cheque was given only as a security cheque and the outstanding payment was already made in three installments. The accused was tried for the offence as aforesaid. At the conclusion of the trial, the accused was found not guilty and was, therefore, acquitted. Aggrieved, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

 The High Court reiterated the well-settled law that it is settled law that the important ingredient for the offence punishable under Section 138 is that cheque must have been issued for the discharge in whole or in part of any debt or other liability. If the cheque is not issued for the discharge of any debt or other liability, Section 138 can not be invoked.

Perused the facts of the instant case, the Court found that the appellant, in his cross-examination, had admitted that the cheque issued was only for guarantee. Relying on its earlier decisions, the Court noted that if the cheque is issued only as security for performance of a certain contract or an agreement and not towards the discharge of any debt or other liability, offence punishable under Section 138 is not made out.

Following the aforenoted position of law, and noting the admission of the appellant in his cross-examination, the Court concluded that there could be no other conclusion that the cheque was not issued for the discharge of any debt or other liability. The important ingredient for the offence punishable under Section 138, therefore, was missing.

Moreover, it was found that the appellant had been giving different dates on which the cheque was issued, which shows that he was economical with the truth. Reiterating that a person, who’s case is based on falsehood, has no right to approach the Court, the High Court dismissed the instant appeal. [Shantaram Namdeo Sathe v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 4354, decided on 15-11-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): The Bench comprising of Justice R.K. Agrawal (President) and M. Shreesha (Member) while addressing a complaint filed under the Consumer Protection Act stated that:

“Complainants cannot be made to wait indefinitely for possession of the unit, as the construction is yet to be completed even after a period of more than 6 years has lapsed from the date of booking.”

The present complaint was filed against the “Developer” and “Construction Company” under Section 21(a)(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

In accordance with the facts of the case, Complainant had been looking for residential accommodation in Gurgaon, wherein he wanted to reside after his return from Tokyo, Japan. Complainant on his return to India booked a residential apartment of 5450 sq. ft. and paid an amount of Rs 4,12,98,926 by 03-09-2015.

It has been averred that, Flat Buyer’s Agreement was executed between the Developer and Complainant on 19-02-2013 and as per Clause 12 of the agreement, the possession of the apartment was to be delivered within 36 months with an additional grace period of 6 months, which ended on 19-08-2016.

Adding to the above, in December 2015, the complainant visited the site to see the development work and was shocked to see that the construction work had been completely stopped since January 2015. Complainant visited the corporate office of the developer and was informed that due to disputes with Construction Company, they had terminated the contract with them. The complainant was further assured that a new construction company would complete the balance work and the complainant shall receive the possession in terms of the agreement by February 2016 or at least within the extended period.

Again in January, 2017 complainant was disappointed to observe that no work was being carried out and he was assured by the officials of the “Developer” that the new construction company would complete the balance work. Once again in April 2018, on visiting the construction site he found that the site office was locked.

Thus, on multiple failures by the developer to respect the agreement in regard to the construction of the flat, Complainant had to send a legal notice to the Opposite Parties and further vexed with the attitude of the OP’s, the complainant approached the Commission.

Siddharth Yadav and Wasim Ashraf, Counsel appearing on behalf of the Complainants argued that despite repeated attempts to contact the “Developer” and seeking information regarding the progress of construction, there was no response for the same.

Commission in view of the above, relied on the decisions of the Supreme Court case in Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure Ltd. v. Govindan Raghavan, (2019) 5 SCC 725 and Kolkata West International City (P) Ltd. v. Devasis Rudra, (2019) CPJ 29 (SC), and opined in regard to the instant case that, “Complainants cannot be made to wait indefinitely for possession of the unit, as the construction is yet to be completed even after a period of more than 6 years has lapsed from the date of booking.”

Further, the Commission added to its observation that, there has been a deficiency of service on behalf of the OP’s. However, since the amounts were paid to the “Developer” the liability is fastened on the developer and not the “Construction Company”.

With the above, Complainant is allowed in part directing the “Developer” to refund 4,12,98,926 with interest at 12% p.a. from the respective dates of deposit till the date of realisation. [Alok Kumar v. Golden Peacock Residency (P) Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 314, decided on 06-09-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: Biswanath Rath, J. dismissed an arbitration appeal filed under Section 37(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

The appellant in his appeal, challenged the judgment of the District Judge, Sambalpur in Arbitration Petition No. 2 of 2004 dated 27-11-2006 where the District Judge while dismissing the Arbitration Petition confirmed the award passed by the learned Arbitrator involving Arbitration Case No. 2 of 2001

Learned counsel for the appellant, S. Mohanty, restricted his submission to the extent that for the receipt of the payment on the final bill without protest and having no claim any further involving the contract, whether the Arbitrator, as well as the District Judge, arrived in right conclusion involving the award and judgment therein? In filing the written note of argument, the learned counsel extended his claim to the interest part also.

The Court upheld the Arbitrator’s findings that the appellant has got the work executed through the claimant unnecessarily delayed the payment of final bill and that sole object behind the same was to ensure that in future the claimant would not make any claim against the respondent as in course of the execution of the work, the respondent had committed breach of contract and caused undue harassment to the claimant. In the contract, there was no provision for obtaining any such no claim undertaking from the contractor before payment of the final bill.

Relying on Asian Techs Ltd. v. Union of India, (2009) 10 SCC 354, the Court found that the final protest was received by the respondent under protest and therefore, the contract was not concluded. In view thereof, the Court found no scope for interfering on this aspect particularly exercising power under Section 37 of the Act.

On the issue of payment of interest, the Court relied upon Jiprakash Associates Ltd. (Jal) v. Tehri Hydro Development Corporation India Ltd., 2019 SCC Online SC 143 and Sree Kamatchi Amman Constructions v. Divisional Railway Manager (Works), (2010) 8 SCC 767 and held that unless and until there was an agreement, a party was not entitled to pre and pendente lite interest.

In view of the above, the Court found no scope for interfering in the aspect pertaining to payment of interest and dismissed the arbitration appeal.[Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd. v. Kishorilal Loomba and Sons, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 188, decided on 13-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agarwal, J. allowed a petition filed by an advocate against the order of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) whereby cognizance was taken against him, along with other accused persons, for the offences punishable under Section 420 read with Section 120-B IPC.

The petitioner was working as a Notary, and while discharging his duties under the provisions of the Notaries Act, 1952 and the Rules made thereunder, he authenticated an Agreement in presence of two witnesses. Thereafter, the complainant filed a complaint against accused persons including the petitioner, alleging the commission of the abovesaid offences. Subsequently, the Judicial Magistrate passed the impugned order.

Abhishek Sinha, Advocate for the petitioner contended that such a cognizance taken was expressly barred by the provisions contained in Section 13(1) of the Notaries Act which are mandatory in nature.

The High Court was of the view that the use of negative form provides a mandatory character to the provisions of Section 13(1). Section 13(1) clearly bars the act of taking cognizance of any offence against the Notary in exercise or purported exercise of his function under the Act except upon a complaint in writing made by an officer authorised by Central Government or State Government by general or special order. In the present case, the petitioner, while authenticating the said Agreement was performing his statutory duty within the provisions of Section 8(1)(a). Therefore the Court was of the view that the bar under Section 13(1) would squarely be attracted. In the absence of a complaint as provided for under Section 13(1), it was held that order of the Judicial Magistrate was unsustainable and was thereby set aside to the extent applicable on the petitioner. The petition was thus allowed. [Rajkumar Mishra v. Gurjeet Kaur Bajwa, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 48, decided on 13-05-2019]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

G.S.R.282(E) — In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 3 of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 (49 of 2003), the Central Government hereby directs that the provisions of the said Act shall apply to the Federal Republic of Brazil. The full text of the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons signed by the Republic of India and the Federal Republic of Brazil on 15.10.2013 is given below. The Agreement was ratified by the Republic of India on 1.1.2014 and by the Federal Republic of Brazil on 24.10.2018. The Instruments of Ratification were exchanged on 24.1.2019.


The Republic of India and the Federative Republic of Brazil hereinafter referred to as the Contracting States;

Desiring to facilitate the social rehabilitation of sentenced persons into their own countries; and

Considering that this objective should be fulfilled by giving foreigners, who have been convicted and sentenced as a result of their commission of a criminal offence, the opportunity to serve their sentences within their own society;

Have agreed as follows:



For the purpose of this Agreement:
(a) “Judgment” means a decision or order of a court or tribunal imposing a sentence;
(b) “Receiving State” means a State to which the sentenced person may be, or has been, transferred in order to serve his sentence;
(c) “Sentence” means any punishment or measure involving deprivation of liberty ordered by a court or tribunal for a determinate period of time, in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction;
(d) “Sentenced person” means a person who is serving a definitive and enforceable sentence in the transferring State under a judgment passed by a criminal court in the Contracting States;
(e) “Transferring State” means the State in which the sentence was imposed on the person who may be, or has been transferred.

Note: Please follow the link for detailed notification – Notification

[Notification dt. 02-04-2019]

Ministry of Home Affairs

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the agreement between Republic of India and the Republic of Belarus on Mutual Legal Assistance (MLAT) in Civil and Commercial Matters.

The Agreement after having come into force will promote Mutual Legal Assistance between the Contracting Parties in Civil and Commercial Matters.

The proposal aims to benefit the citizens of the respective Parties seeking Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters in the requested Party irrespective of any gender, class or income bias.



NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Government of Republic of India and the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam signed an Agreement for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes (TIEA) here today in New Delhi. The Agreement was signed by Mr. Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on behalf of India and Dato Paduka Haji Sidek Ali, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to India on behalf of Brunei Darussalam.

The Agreement enables the exchange of information, including banking and ownership information between the two countries for tax purposes. It is based on international standards of tax transparency and exchange of information and enables sharing of information on request as well as an automatic basis. The Agreement also provides for mutual assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries.

The Agreement will enhance mutual co-operation between India and Brunei Darussalam by providing an effective framework for the exchange of information in tax matters which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

[Press Release dt. 28-02-2019]

Ministry of Finance

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Bench of S.C. Gupte, J. while addressing an arbitration petition challenging the award passed by a sole arbitrator, noted the points of evidence asserted by the sole arbitrator and dismissed the petition.

In the present petition, the crux of the issue involved an agreement for manufacturing of the petitioner’s liquor products. The particular agreement was between the petitioner (who was the respondent to the reference) and the respondent (who was the claimant before the arbitral forum) inter alia engaging services of respondent for manufacture, on a priority basis of various liquor products of the petitioner in the State of Maharashtra.

Respondent stated in his points of contentions that in a meeting held between the representatives of the parties, it was agreed that bottling charges would be increased by Rs 10 per case. Claimant had sent out an e-mail with a letter requesting the petitioner to confirm the minutes of the meeting held for which no response from the petitioner was received. Further, it was stated that though respondent did not receive any written communication from the petitioner, respondent, with consent from the petitioner, went on adjusting from jointly operated account payments towards bottling charges at the rate of Rs 40 per case.

Petitioner in his behalf placed that, a sum of Rs 40,46,165.87 was due and payable by the petitioner to the respondent after the payments adjusted. Further, for the said amount, it was agreed between the petitioner and the respondent that the petitioner would pay the same in four installments which never got fulfilled.

A legal notice was sent to the petitioner regarding the above stated and thereafter present reference was filed.

Learned sole arbitrator while giving its award held that the petitioner had failed to pay the agreed amount and as a result, awarded a sum of Rs 64,08,685.82, comprising of the principal amount as stated above along with interest. The said award has been challenged under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

While concluding the decision, the bench stated that the oral agreement was consistently acted upon by the parties for a long period of time. “Whatever view the Court may take of an oral modification clause generally or in the particular case we are concerned with, the mandate of challenge to the court under Section 34 of the Act is to see whether the view taken by the arbitrator, even if it be on a question of law or its application to the facts of the case, is a possible view or view which a fair and judiciously minded person could well take.” Therefore, the view taken by the arbitrator could well be said to be a possible view and supported by evidence. The view must pass muster under Section 34 of the Act.

Thus, the challenge to the impugned award had no merit and the petition was accordingly dismissed. [John Distilleries (P) Ltd. v. Brihan Maharashtra Sugar Syndicate Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 67, dated 14-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque, J. disposed of a petition by stating that maternity benefits cannot be denied to a woman employed on contractual basis.

Petitioner was working as an assistant professor in Medical Microbiology on a contract basis. It has been stated that, on expiry of the last contract of the petitioner she was re-engaged for a period of one year and the timeline of her employment shows that she had been engaged from time to time on contract basis for past one decade.

The crux of the issue in the present case is that, on claiming maternity benefits from the University, the petitioner was denied for the same. University submitted that in terms of agreement petitioner was not entitled to such benefits.

“Maternity benefit is not merely a statutory benefit or a benefit flowing out of an agreement.”

Reliance was placed on Rakhi P.V. v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 864, in which it was held that a woman cannot be compelled to choose between motherhood and employment. Further, the Court stated that women employees who are working under contract cannot be denied the maternity benefits.

Therefore, in the present case, the bench held that University is bound to grant such benefits notwithstanding anything contained in the agreement of contract. University was further directed to pay maternity benefits due to the petitioner within a period of 2 months. [Rasitha C.H. v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine Ker 7404, decided on 11-12-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Member Bench of S.M. Kantikar (Presiding Member) and  Dinesh Singh (Member), dismissed a revision petition filed against the order of Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, whereby the order of the district forum was affirmed.

The main issue that arose before the Commission was whether the instant dispute required interference by the National Commission under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act (COPRA).

The Commission observed that the respondent  1 had entered into an agreement with the appellant wherein the appellant had promised for providing various amenities like Club House, Internal roads, installation of fire fighting system and arrangement of sewerage and garbage etc. Further, the maintenance charge was to be calculated by taking the area as 1830 sq. ft, however, the appellant charged excess amount of maintenance charges from the respondent 1. Also, the amenities promised by the appellant were not provided to the respondent 1. The Commission rejected the contention of the petitioner that the respondent 1 did not fall under the category of “consumer” as per the provisions of COPRA. In the decision of Rubi (Chandra) Dutta v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2011) 11 SCC 269, wherein it was held that the National Commission while deciding a matter under Section 21 of the Act, should not interfere with the concurrent finding of fact recorded in the judgment impugned before it.

The Commission held that there is a drastic increase in the number of problems from the construction industry where consumers are fooled by builders or developers. The petitioner failed to provide evidence such as the Commissioner’s Report, Engineer’s report etc. to prove that the amenities as per the agreement were provided to the respondent 1 and it had also failed to justify the excessive money which was charged by it from the respondent 1 in the form of maintenance charges. Finally, the Commission held that to exercise the revisional jurisdiction under Section 21(b) of the COPRA it must show that there was a jurisdictional error or a legal principle was ignored or miscarriage of justice. The petition was dismissed and the order of state commission was upheld.[Make Wave Sea Resort (P) Ltd. v. L.R. Chowdhary,2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 389, order dated 13-11-2018]


Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari, J. while hearing a civil writ petition for appointment of arbitrator noted that even after termination of an agreement entered into between the parties, the arbitration agreement survives.

Brief background of the case was that the respondent had entered into a MoU with one Sandip Foundation. After a certain period of time, Sandip Foundation passed a resolution under which all its activities under the said MoU were transferred to the petitioner institution which specialized in developments and distribution of course material for various technical and non-technical courses. Respondent – University issued a notification withdrawing certain courses from the academic collaborative institutions and despite assuring that the students already admitted would not be affected and could continue their courses, it failed to conduct examinations. This led to the petitioner issuing a notice calling upon the respondent to commence arbitration proceedings in terms of the MoU. The respondent replied by terminating the MoU and did not respond to petitioner’s multiple requests and notices for arbitrating their dispute. The sole contention raised on behalf of the respondent was that since the MoU had been terminated, the arbitration clause contained therein did not survive. Hence, the petitioner was constrained to file the instant petition for appointment of a sole arbitrator to adjudicate their disputes.

The sole question posed before the court was as to whether there was an arbitration agreement between the parties. The court went through clauses of the MoU entered into between the parties and noted that clause 14 of the MoU clearly stipulated that disputes between parties be referred to arbitration. It was observed that despite issuing a notice to the respondent, it did not take steps for appointment of an arbitrator. Further, the court rejected the argument that the termination of MoU had the effect of terminating arbitration clause as well.

On the aforesaid holding and observations, the writ petition was disposed of by giving directions for appointment of an arbitrator. [SCOPE v Karnataka State Open University,2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1568, decided on 03-10-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India(CCI): A four-member bench comprising of Sudhir Mital, Chairperson and Augustine Peter, U.C. Nahata and Justice G.P. Mittal, Members closed a matter filed under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 against the U.P. Housing and Development Board (Opposite Party).

The informant was allotted one LIG flat developed by the Opposite Party (OP). The informant filed information under the abovesaid section alleging that the OP, in its project brochure, estimated the cost of the flat at Rs 11.75 lakhs. However, over a period of time, on one or the other pretext, the OP, with malafide intentions, increased the cost of the flat. Resultantly, the informant had to pay over Rs 15 lakhs. It was also alleged that the OP failed to deliver the possession of the flat within 2 years from the date of the allotment as per the terms of the project brochure. The informant claimed that such arbitrary conduct of the OP caused appreciable adverse effect on the competition within India in violation of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1). Violation of the provisions of Section 4 was also alleged.

The Commission perused the information and the documents filed therewith and also considered the material available in public domain. Looking at the nature of allegations, the Commission was of the view that provisions of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1) had no application to the present case. It was observed that the nature of the agreement entered into between the informant and the OP did not qualify as an agreement under Section 3(3) of the Act. The reason being that the two of them were not engaged in identical or similar trade of goods or provision of services. Thus, prima facie, no contravention of the Act was made out against the OP under the aforementioned sections. Regarding violation of Section 4, the Commision held that OP was not a dominant player in the relevant market. In view of the foregoing, the Commission was of the opinion that no case of contravention either under Section 3 or 4 was made out against the OP. Accordingly, the matter was ordered to be closed forthwith under Section 26(2) of the Act. [D.K. Srivastava v. U.P. Housing and Development Board,2018 SCC OnLine CCI 73, dated 14-08-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI):  A four-member bench comprising of Devender Kumar Sikri, Chairperson and Sudhir Mital, Augustine Peter and U.C. Nahata, Members, held that opposite parties, ‘Ola’ (OP 1) and ‘Uber’ (OP 2) did not contravene either Section 3 or 4 of the Competition Act, 2002.

The informant- ‘Meru’ cab, informed the Commission that the OPs were collectively the dominant players in the radio taxi services market. They entered into agreements with each other that were detrimental to the competition. The informant raised various points. Firstly, it was alleged that the OPs abused their dominant position by entering into agreements with each other that had an appreciable adverse effect on competition on the market. Secondly, the question was also raised as to the common investors (mainly ‘SoftBank’) which, as alleged, resulted in common control. Thirdly, it was alleged that the OPs had indulged in below variable cost pricing for a period of over two years. Considering the information received, the Commission, on 3-8-2017,  sought further information from the OPs primarily in regard to their shareholding pattern.

The Commission observed that the informant did not place on record any agreement entered into between the OPs and the drivers imposing exclusivity restrictions on drivers in contravention of Section 3(4) read with Section 3(1). Regarding dominance, the Commission was of the opinion that high market share was not in itself an indicator of dominant position. As for the allegation of collective dominance, the Commission observed that Section 4 does not contemplate in its fold the concept of collective dominance. The Commission held that the dominance of either Ola or Uber was not made out. The Commission showed some concern over the fact of common ownership (common investors like SoftBank) and held that policy needs to be framed in that regard, as such overlapping interest may result in the reduction of firms’ incentive to compete. However, on this point too, the Commission held that as per the law as it stood on the day, the OPs could not have been said to contravene the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002. Holding that investigation under the Act could not be held solely based on conjectures and apprehensions, the Commission closed the matter under Section 26(2) of the Act. [Meru Travel Solutions (P) Ltd. v. ANI Technologies (P) Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine CCI 46, dated 20-06-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): The four-member bench comprising of Devender Kumar Sikri, Chairperson and Sudhir Mital, U.C. Nahta, and G.P. Mittal, Members, ordered closure of the matter filed against BMW India Private Limited (OP-1) under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 alleging ‘abuse of dominance’.

The brief facts of the matter state that ‘Informant’ was a dealer for selling BMW cars in the State of Gujarat and was continuing to be one for almost 9 years. The primary allegation which in accordance to the ‘Informant’ constitutes to ‘abuse of dominant position’ is that OP-1 abused their dominant position by selling their cars through dealers outside Gujarat to the customers based in the State of Gujarat. Another averment was that BMW India seems to have been carrying out a fraudulent/illegal arrangement as no ‘entry tax’ is being paid on entering of the cars in the State of Gujarat from outside the State.

Therefore, the Commission on noting the stated allegations and facts, analysed the issue placed by the ‘Informant’ and concluded by stating that, BMW India had in advance, before the renewal of the agreement of dealership between the parties, sent a notice of ‘non-renewal’ which made the ‘Informant’ well aware of the expiry of the agreement and the fact that BMW India has negligible share in the passenger car segment in India clearly leads to BMW India not being a dominant player. Hence the Commission opined that nowhere OP-1 contravened Section 4 i.e ‘abuse of dominant position’  and pronounced an order of closure under the provisions of Section 26(2) of the Competition Act, 2002. [Prasoli Motor Works (P) Ltd. v. BMW India (P) Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine CCI 39, dated 30-05-2018]

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has has approved the signing and ratification of Agreement between India and Brunei Darussalam for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection with respect to Taxes.


  1. The Agreement enables the competent authorities of India and Brunei Darussalam to provide assistance through exchange of information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the two countries concerning taxes covered by this Agreement.
  1. The information received under the Agreement shall be treated as confidential and may be disclosed only to persons or authorities (including courts or administrative bodies) concerned with assessment, collection, enforcement, prosecution or determination of appeals in relation to taxes covered under the Agreement. Information may be disclosed to any other person or entity or authority or jurisdiction with the prior written consent of the information sending country.
  2. The Agreement also provides for automatic exchange of information between India and Brunei with respect to categories of cases.
  3. The Agreement also enables assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries.
  4. The Agreement provides for Mutual Agreement Procedure for resolving any difference or for agreeing on procedures under the Agreement.
  5. The Agreement shall enter into force on the date of notification of completion of the procedures required by the respective laws of the two countries for entry into force of the Agreement.

The Agreement will stimulate the flow of exchange of information between India and Brunei for tax purposes which will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance. It will also enable assistance in collection of tax revenue claims between both countries. As such, the Agreement does not have any financial implications. Only in the event of extraordinary costs exceeding USD 500 as per Article 9 of the Agreement, the same will be borne by the Government of India. India has similar provisions in other such tax information exchange agreements.

Background: The Central Government is authorized under Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to enter into an Agreement with a foreign country or specified territory for exchange of information for the prevention of evasion or avoidance of income tax chargeable under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Negotiations for entering into an Agreement for the Exchange of Information with respect to Taxes were conducted at Brunei from 10th  to 11th January, 2017.  Pursuant to the same, the Governments of India and Brunei Darussalam have agreed on the text of the Agreement.


NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Zambia in the field of Judicial Cooperation.

During recent years, social, cultural and commercial relations between India and Zambia have developed in the positive direction. Signing of an agreement on cooperation in the field of justice will further enhance good relations between the two countries and add new dimensions in the field of judicial reforms.

[Press Release no. 1526897, dt. 28-03-2018]


NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has approved an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to taxes on income between India and Iran. The Agreement will stimulate flow of investment, technology and personnel from India to Iran & vice versa, and will prevent double taxation. The Agreement will provide for exchange of information between the two Contracting Parties as per latest international standards. It will thus improve transparency in tax matters and will help curb tax evasion and tax avoidance.

The Agreement is on similar lines as entered into by India with other countries.  The proposed Agreement also meets treaty related minimum standards under G-20 OECD Base Erosion & Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, in which India participated on an equal footing. Insofar as India is concerned, the Central Government is authorized under Section 90 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to enter into an Agreement with a foreign country or specified territory for avoidance of double taxation of income for exchange  of information  for the  prevention  of evasion  or avoidance of income-tax chargeable under the Income Tax Act, 1961.