May 19, 2017
The recent overhauling of the H1B visa policy under the Trump Administration, has led to rising concerns and uncertainties on issuance of visas in the Indian IT industry.
For instance, the revised H1B visa guidelines prescribe for certain eligibility criteria like minimum educational qualifications, requirement of establishing that a particular position is a specialty occupation etc. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services had also recently clarified that an entry level computer programmer position would not generally qualify as a position in a “specialty occupation”. A position of “specialty occupation” requires higher education and would typically include scientist, engineers, skilled computer programmers, etc. The impact of these guidelines are, therefore, likely to be felt by entry-level IT recruits the hardest, many of whom travel to and are regularly outsourced to the US, for projects of US companies.
April 26, 2017
1.1. Multi-level marketing (“MLM”) or direct selling models, where goods are marketed/sold directly to the end user (and not through a fixed retail location), by a network of distributors at different levels of distribution is a well-established business model used by various companies.
1.2. However, there have also been various instances, of ‘ponzi’ or ‘pyramid schemes’, operating under the guise of MLM models, where income is generated through enrolment of more and more members, rather than sale of any tangible product, and which lure in the unsuspecting public through claims of quick and easy money. These schemes are regarded as a ‘Money Circulation Scheme’ and prohibited under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978 (“Money Circulation Act”).
April 10, 2017
With India presently having a wind power installed capacity of around 32GW, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (“MNRE”) has invited comments on the draft guidelines for procurement of wind power through bidding. The draft guidelines have been formulated to promote competition and transparency through the process of bidding as required in terms of section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003. The draft guidelines identifies the participants in the bidding process and outlines the pre-bid and post-bid activities and documentation to be fulfilled while undertaking the bidding process. A copy of the draft guidelines can be found here. Comments are requested by April 21, 2017.
April 6, 2017
The following amendments to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, by virtue of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, have come into force with effect from April 1, 2017:
- The maximum period for which a woman employee is entitled to payment of maternity benefit is now increased to 26 weeks (instead of the earlier 12 weeks). Further, not more than 8 weeks will precede the date of expected delivery (instead of the earlier 6 weeks). However, such extended benefit will only be given to a woman employee for her first two deliveries. A woman employee having two or more surviving children would be entitled to maternity benefit as per the earlier provisions, that is, a maximum period of 12 weeks of which not more than 6 weeks will precede the date of her expected delivery.
April 5, 2017
1.1. Unlike the traditional form of currencies issued by government/banking authorities, virtual currencies (“VCs”) such as Bitcoin are a form of cryptocurrency/digital currency, ‘issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community’1, and which relies on cryptography for its creation and management.
1.2. In this digital age, trading and transacting in VCs such as Bitcoins has reached an alarming proportion and the question of recognition and regulation of VCs is therefore a question that governments have been grappling with over the last few years. India is no different, and this newsletter is an attempt to provide a brief overview of the legal status of VCs in India.
March 8, 2017
In a significant development to improve India’s intellectual property regime, rules for registering trademarks have been simplified. This is a step in the right direction as it would boost the ease of doing business.
Now you can register trade mark as “Well Known” and Save potential litigation cost. The registration fee of Rs 1 lakh is insignificant if compared to the savings in potential litigation costs.
March 6, 2017
The Foreigner’s Act, 1946, The Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and The Citizenship Act, 1955, together with allied rules and periodic amendments regulate the foreigner’s entry, along with the immigration policy, movement and stay in India. Most foreign nationals entering India require a valid passport along with an appropriate visa depending on the motive of visit to India. Visa can be issued for the following purposes.
Business Visa: An individual seeking to travel to India on business should obtain a Business Visa. The validity of a business visa can range from 6 months to 10 years. Individuals who seek to establish a business in India may be eligible for a business visa, which is usually issued with a longer validity period (a long term visa). A business visa application should include supporting documents from the sponsoring organization(s).
February 2, 2017
(Holding the view in the earlier Kokate Case as incorrect, the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court has clarified the position of law with respect to rights of nominees versus those of successors over shares of a company. The Court has held that nomination does not override the law in relation to testamentary or intestate succession, and vesting under Section 109A (of Companies Act, 1956) does not create a third mode of succession.)