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20 November 2017

Former Vodafone senior vice president legal Nitin Banerjee has joined Indian energy major Cairn Oil & Gas to replace Vidyut Gulati as its group general counsel (GC), as first reported by PTI.

16 February 2016

India said it may seize Vodafone Group Plc’s assets in the country if the company doesn’t pay a disputed 142-billion-rupee ($2.1 billion) tax bill that’s still undergoing international arbitration proceedings, according to a copy of the notice that was sent to the company this month.

Anil Sant, deputy commissioner of income tax, informed the company’s Vodafone International Holdings BV Dutch unit of its dues in a letter dated Feb. 4, according to the document, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg News. Spokesman Ben Padovan at Vodafone and a representative at India’s tax department declined to comment.

reported Bloomberg.com.

23 November 2015

Vodafone: Posterchild for Indian tax troublesVodafone has become a shorthand for Indian tax troubles, but in the last year or so, it has won several important high court decisions (though not for lack of resistance from government lawyers).

21 August 2014

ylony2tmA Delhi high court judgment has ruled against the Income Tax Department but in effect upped the pressure on other Mauritius or overseas-based tax avoidance structures.

01 July 2014

Former additional solicitor general (ASG) Biswajit Bhattacharya was rebuked by Supreme Court justices HL Dattu and SA Bobde as their bench dismissed his PIL against Vodafone, reported the Mint.

Bhattacharya had claimed “subversion of the rule of law” by not enforcing the retrospective amendment to the Income Tax Act 1961, leading to Rs 20,000 crore of dues payable by Vodafone, added Mint.

“You are an experienced person,” the bench told tax expert Bhattacharya adding that such a PIL could not be filed with adducing the Income Tax department’s evidence.

27 June 2014

Former additional solicitor general and senior advocate Bishwajit Bhattacharyya has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court, seeking to get India to pay up its tax bill under a retrospective amendment passed in 2012 by the then-government, reported the Economic Times.

Bhattacharyya in a column in The Statesman on 5 June 2014 had written that allowing Vodafone to get away without paying the Rs 20,000 crore tax demand, including penalty and interest, would be a “subversion of rule of law”. The amount could well be $4bn soon if “the rupee continues to induce bullish sentiments”, he wrote, and Vodafone’s “inaction” in paying the bill for 27 months has been “stunning and brazen”.

The government had retrospectively amended India’s tax laws after Vodafone won exemption from paying the tax following its acquisition of Hutchison’s India assets.

Last month Vodafone and the government began embarking on settling the dispute in international arbitration.

18 June 2014

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) RC Lahoti is now arbitrator on the international arbitration between Vodafone and the Indian government under the India-Netherlands bilateral treaty, to decide validity of the Rs 27,000 crore tax demand from Vodafone, reported the PTI.

The finance ministry’s decision to appoint Lahoti was in response to notice served by Vodafone for arbitration under the treaty.

The government, through a retrospective amendment, had reversed the effect of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that had absolved Vodafone of the tax liability.

14 February 2014

SC Judge slams Gov for “scaring away all foreign investors”: “We are sorry to say that lawmakers are not keeping pace with the changing times, especially fast-changing technology. Then you will legislate with retrospective effect, scaring away all foreign investors,” said Justice KS Radhakrishnan today, who had ruled in 2012 that Vodafone would not have to pay Rs 11,000 crore in tax, which was undone by a retrospective amendment by the government [ET]

Is India’s as an investment being damaged by tax disputes? asks [Mint] after Vodafone’s failed conciliation talks with the government over its huge tax bill, Nokia approached the Supreme Court to fight to transfer its India-based factory to Microsoft without a massive tax hit and disputes with IBM and others…

Cong MP sues Kejriwal for defamation for calling him corrupt: Congress MP sues outgoing Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for defamation for calling him one of the “most corrupt persons in India” [CNN-IBN]

Gov pushes for tabling HC judges retirement age bill this session: The Government has pushed for the Lok Sabha the bill pending since 2011 to increase high court judges’ retirement age from 62 to 65 years [PTI]

ET does Cyril Shroff for two hours: The Economic Times does a two hour interview with Amarchand Mangaldas Mumbai managing partner Cyril Shroff and finds out he likes Chinese food (but not much else) [ET]

Bombay HC allows Peta to inspect elephant: The Bombay HC has permitted People for Ethical Treatment to Animals (Peta) to visit Sunder, an elephant that they allege has been abused [DNA]

Lawyers strike forces 87-y-o to argue himself: Due to an advocates strike in Madurai an 87-year-old litigant in a wheelchair had to argue his case himself, reported [TOI]

29 November 2013

Vodafone Rs 1300 cr TP writ sent to DRP: The Bombay HC said that the Vodafone transfer pricing tax writ petition of the department’s transfer pricing adjustment of Rs 1,300 crore, should be referred to the tax department’s dispute resolution panel (DRP) [Mint]

CCI checks Ericsson-Micromax royalties: CCI has begun a probe to examine whether Ericsson cellphone patent royalties of 1.25% to 2% from Indian phone maker Micromax, are too high by virtue of abuse of its alleged dominant position [WSJ]

DHCBA election rules argued: Delhi HC reserves judgment on Delhi District Court Bar Association plea, filed by bar council Delhi member Rajiv Khosla, seeking amendments Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) over upcoming 13 December elections [PTI]

Lalu fodder scam bail notice to CBI: The SC’s chief justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issue notice to the CBI in Rashtirya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad’s bail petition – argued by senior counsel Ram Jethmalani - over the fodder scam case [IBN Live]

Gruesome Kerala robbery decapitation death sentence commuted by SC justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde for not being one of “gravest cases of extreme culpability” [The Hindu]

Sunburn’s stolen Powerpoint: Sunburn festival moves Bombay HC at Goa to restrain rival festival from using Sunburn’s Powerpoint presentations [TOI]

SC: Live-in couples deserve protection: An apex court bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose has asked for an amendment to bring couples in non-married relationships into the ambit of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act [The Hindu / BBC]

Slicing Kerala HC benches? Minister Shashi Tharoor asks for Kerala HC bench in Thiruvananthapuram, going against the views of eminent ex-SC judge VR Krishna Iyer [PTI]

SC: Don’t over-examine state decisions: SC bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri says: “If every decision taken by the State is tested by a microscopic and a suspicious eye, the administration will come to a standstill and the decision-makers will lose all their initiative and enthusiasm.” [PTI]

Bank can publish defaulters’ photos: Bombay HC says it’s ok for SBI to publish defaulters’ photos in newspapers, as being in public interest [PTI]

Reprieve in TN lawyer clash: Madras’ Madurai bench grants interim stay in criminal proceedings against leader of opposition, Vijayakanth, relating to violence in clashes with advocates in district court on 1 July [TOI]

Mumbai autos move writ on gas supply [DNA]

Law means Tejpal raped, says journalist who was allegedly raped by Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, in a forceful and tightly-argued statement: “I don’t know if I am ready to see myself as a ‘rape victim’, for my colleagues, friends, supporters and critics to see me thus. It is not the victim that categorizes crimes: it is the law. And in this case, the law is clear: what Mr. Tejpal did to me falls within the legal definition of rape” [Statement] In the meantime, Tejpal has reportedly landed in Goa to meet police there [Firstpost live blog]

15 May 2013

Time for a raise? HC judges request the CJI to increase their Rs 80,000 per month salary to an amount greater than what state chief secretaries get. They also want double the free electricity units at their residences, and to increase their retirement age from 62 to 65 [TOI]

Sibal for conciliation: Vodafone can resolve the issue of its Rs 11,200 crore tax liability in India by conciliation with the finance ministry, says new law minister Kapil Sibal. Sibal overturned his predecessor Ashwini Kumar’s decision disallowing the conciliation because it was illegal [NDTV]

NUJS internships: NUJS Kolkata signed a 5-year MoU with the department of consumer affairs for capacity building of the department by helping it with research on legal and procedural governing provisions. NUJS students will get to intern with the department and get experience of conducting court cases [TOI]

Mute trials: SC lambasts trial courts for flouting Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by granting too many adjournments in criminal cases instead of proceeding on a day-to-day basis after witness examination starts. “A trial judge cannot be a mute spectator to the trial being controlled by the parties,” said a bench of justices Dipak Misra and KS Radhakrishan [TOI]

Lawyers v police: A Madras HC lawyer asked the HC to direct the city police to take action against the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) for harassing the lawyer by allegedly creating a scene outside his office for no reason [NIE]

12 December 2012

The $2.4bn Vodafone tax-case decided in January, was sought to be reopened in the Supreme Court on Monday by Income Tax (IT) Department counsel solicitor general Rohinton Nariman.

Nariman was arguing for the department in its challenge to a Gujarat High Court (HC) order which had cleared the demerger scheme of Vodafone Essar Gujarat. During arguments, he sought a larger bench to review the January order of the SC which had absolved the British telecom major of the liability to refund over Rs 11,000 crore to the IT department.

He averred before chief justice of India Altamas Kabir’s bench that the case was liable to be reopened on the ground of “non-consideration” since the SC had failed to consider the 100 pages long review petition listing 130 grounds which he had submitted in January. He added that additional documents supporting his case have also come to light, and he will file them soon.

Kabir permitted the department to file these additional documents.

Vodafone’s counsel Salve opposed reopening the case on the ground that the Gujarat HC had already granted relief to the company relying on the SC’s verdict. [Financial Express]

18 March 2012

LI and Mint, together every fortnightA corollary of the Rule of Law is that legislation with retrospective effect is highly dubious, argues Kian Ganz. The latest budget proposals to tax offshore transactions going back to 1962, is a worrying sign of the kind of country India wants to be.

16 March 2012

Vodafone: Not happy with UnRule of Law? The Union Budget’s plan to tax Vodafone’s Indian Hutch takeover and similar transactions retrospectively going back to 1962 is unconstitutional and would not pass scrutiny of the courts, said Dutt Menon Dunmorrsett Mumbai-based partner Fereshte Sethna, who represented Vodafone in its Rs 11 crore ($2.4bn) dispute with the tax office in the Mumbai High Court and the Supreme Court.

06 February 2012

Newsletter Welcome back to Legally India’s newsletter and apologies for the long delay. The good news is, however, that this issue is packed with more exciting news and analysis than ever before.