Uber Rubbish

The tragic rape of a girl in an Uber cab triggered the usual tryst with unreality. The Delhi Government’s Transport Department immediately ‘banned’ internet cab aggregators- including Uber, Taxi-for-Sure and Ola- from operating in Delhi. Meanwhile, Delhi Police registered an FIR against Uber for misleading customers by falsely suggesting that…

Black Money Ballyhoo

Of all the doublespeak Indians have been sold at election time since we declared ourselves a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic, the elimination of corruption and black money has remained the all-time bestseller regardless of market sentiment. So why has this eternally winning formula never translated into any effective action…

Criminalising Corporate Restructuring

If you are one of those corporate consultants who advise clients on business restructuring, here is a piece of gratuitous advice: get out of it. It’s too dangerous. If you are a professional manager who has consented to sit on the board of a spun off business, or its holding…

Jailbird Republic

It seems that the default way to enforce resolve disputes these days is to employ the services of swashbuckler Station House Officers and file criminal cases in order to intimidate or imprison those with whom you do not agree. The great tragedy of our democracy is not that 22.1 per…

Socialising Shareholders Interests

It’s not just the Aam Aadmi Party that makes the New Year radically new. All around us, ideological assumptions on the foundation of which we have built our nation are being put to the test. On January 6th, 2014, the Delhi High Court has ruled in the Association of Unified…

Niggling non compete clauses

Newspapers have widely reported that the very public Ambani feud is ending with, among others, a ten-year non compete clause whereby, neither of the Ambani brothers will promote companies or enter into joint ventures that compete with the existing companies headed by the other. Are such clauses legal? At the…

High fashion knock-offs

This year’s Lakme India Fashion week in New Delhi ended with designer Suneet Verma alleging fellow designer Aki Narula of plagiarising one of Verma’s designs and passing it off as his own. The outfit in question was part of Verma’s fall/winter 2003 collection and featured in the designer’s advertising campaign…

Appetite for contractual destruction

There must be a convoluted logic to this, but why is it that commercial contracts are written to relentlessly appeal to our appetite for senseless destruction? We were animatedly discussing ‘Business Purpose’ clauses at my ‘Understanding Joint Ventures’ workshop last month when I realised that practically everyone in the room…

Of holy cows and shareholders contracts

It amazing how the seemingly easiest legal questions are sometimes the hardest to answer. Other than a 100 per cent buy out, every M&A transaction generates a shareholders’ agreement by which company owners bind themselves to special rights and obligations. How far these agreements are enforceable in Indian law is…