One of the most shocking news during the recent times for sports fans and legal fraternity, around the globe, has been Maria Sharapova’s admittance towards using the banned endurance-enhancing drug known as ‘Meldonium’ [added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List with effect from January 1, 2016]. The Independent Tribunal (“Tribunal”) appointed by the International Tennis Federation (“ITF”) [constituted under the rules of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme 2016 (“TADP”)], has imposed a ban on Sharapova for a period of 2 years for committing an anti-doping rule violation under article 2.1 of the TADP, vide its decision dated June 6, 2016.
In steps to further liberalise and simplify the foreign direct investment (“FDI”) regime in India and with the objective of providing major impetus to employment and job creation in India, the Government of India has announced sweeping changes to the FDI policy. It is stated that most of the sectors would now be under the automatic approval route except for a small negative list. The last 2 years have witnessed major FDI policy reforms in a number of sectors including in defence, insurance, broadcasting, single brand retail trading, manufacturing, civil aviation and asset reconstruction companies. Changes now introduced include increase in sectoral caps, bringing more activities under automatic route and easing of conditionalities for foreign investment. Brief details of the changes are as follows:
- The Equalisation Levy:
Overseas E-Commerce Companies (“OECs”) such as Facebook, Google and Amazon generate substantial revenues from Indian online advertisers through digital advertising. Since these OECs do not have a Permanent Establishment (“PE”)1 in India, the revenue they generate is not taxable in India.
- NCDRC to the Rescue of Beleaguered Buyers
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (the “NCDRC”) has recently passed stringent directions1 against a builder taking strong objection to delays in construction, coupled with failure of the builder to share the EMI of the flat buyers (“Complainants”) in agreed proportion.
The Complainants booked a flat with the builder in 2007. The builder assured to share 3/4th portion of the EMI to be paid to the bank, if the Complainants paid 95% of the basic sale price of the flat to the builder upfront, and availed a bank loan in such regard.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (“CBDT”) with the objective to reduce litigation and to maintain consistency in approach on the issue of treatment of income derived from transfer of shares and securities, has issued circular no. 6/2016 dated February 29, 2016 (“Circular”), and a follow up letter no. F.No.225/12/2016/ITA.II dated May 2, 2016, (“the CBDT Letter”).
Taxability of surplus generated from sale of listed shares or other securities
A majority of transactions in shares and securities take place in respect of listed shares and securities. Therefore, CBDT has instructed the Assessing Officers, vide its Circular, to consider the following principles for determination whether the surplus generated from sale of listed shares or other securities would be treated as capital gain or business income:
Government approves National Intellectual Property Rights Policy: “Creative India; Innovative India” – TheGovernment of India has approved the National Intellectual Property Rights (“IPRs”) Policy which is stated will lay the future roadmap for intellectual property in India. The Policy has the following objectives:
· IPR awareness and promotion: Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
· Creation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code”) has been passed by the Lok Sabha on May 5, 2016 and Rajya Sabha on May 11, 2016, and shall come into force, once, it receives the Presidential assent. The Code, seeks to consolidate and amend the existing laws on bankruptcy and insolvency matters and creates a unified legal framework for resolution of insolvency/bankruptcy issues in a time bound manner.
- Supreme Court quashes TRAI Regulations on call drops
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has quashed the Telecom Consumers Protection (Ninth Amendment) Regulations dated October 16, 2015 (“Regulations”) issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”). The Regulations, which prescribed a financial disincentive (Rs. 1 for each call drop limited to a maximum of three calls per day) to be paid by the Telecom Service Providers (“TSPs”) to their customers w.e.f. January 1, 2016 had been challenged by the TSPs before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on the grounds of being arbitrary, unreasonable and without basis. The High Court however, upheld the validity of the Regulations on February 29, 2016 and further stated that since the same had not been stayed by the court during the proceedings, TRAI was at liberty to take appropriate steps towards its compliance.