AJA Legal and Associates was established in 2019 by disputes star lawyer and insolvency specialist Jyoti Singh, who was a partner for nearly a decade at Phoenix Legal. The firm offers a cross-section of litigation and arbitration services, such as acting in corporate fraud and economic offences cases, but excels at contentious restructuring and insolvency matters. Singh and her team have appeared in proceedings before various tribunals, High Courts and the Supreme Court of India. Apart from dispute resolution, the firm has branched out into corporate advisory and transactional work. Singh is the key contact at the firm.
Although all the cases submitted during the research period are highly confidential, the firm demonstrated consistent activity representing corporates initiating the corporate insolvency resolution process.
Eight-year-old AK Law Chambers is a boutique dispute firm with an impressive roster of international and domestic clients. Although the firm remains sector agnostic, it has developed a strong reputation among construction and energy sector players. The group comprises no less than 24 practitioners in Chennai and Bengaluru, and it enjoys long-standing referee relationships with international law firms around the globe for their India-based practices. In the past year, the firm has featured in a number of arbitrations seated around the world and in other cities in India. It has expanded from a primarily South Indian firm to an international market player.
Managing partner Anirudh Krishnan is an international and domestic arbitration, construction, energy and insolvency specialist. Partner Nischal Dev and of counsel Adith Narayan are other names to note.
In one highlight case, the firm represented foreign investor, Swiss Re Investors, in a proceeding before the Directorate of Enforcement in relation to an alleged illegal acquisition and further transfer of shares of Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank. The team was also instructed by a chartered accountant firm in a proceeding before the Madras High Court in relation to the alleged illegal misappropriation of funds in investment company, Dewan Housing Finance & Leasing Company.
Another highlight was the firm assisting Bahwan Cybertek Private, a digital software solutions company, in civil and criminal proceedings before the Supreme Court of India in relation to the alleged theft of copyrighted material by ex-employees who misappropriated the same to a competitor.
Notable clients of the firm include Corsair Capital, Evolv Clothing Company, Delta Group, DSP Merrill Lynch, GMR Group, KSK Energy Group, Larsen & Toubro Group, Nissan Motors, OPG Power, Shapoorji Pallonji & Co, Sterling and Wilson Group, Tata Projects, Trivitron Healthcare and United Breweries.
“Excellent coordination.” – Commercial and transactions
“The team as a whole is good in communications and follow-up.” – Commercial and transactions
The litigation and arbitration offering at AKS Partners covers the full spectrum of dispute management. The team has carved out a strong presence for international arbitration matters, with it recently being engaged in global disputes concerning construction and infrastructure, sale of goods, technology and service contracts, and real estate. It works regularly with national and international clients such as major corporates, banks, financial institutions, private equity houses, investors, high-net-worth individuals and brand owners. The firm has expanded its supporting ranks by hiring six associates in the past 12 months.
The principal contact is managing partner Sonal Kumar Singh. He is a dispute resolution specialist with expertise in domestic and international arbitrations. Anish Jaipuriar is another name to note for commercial litigation.
The firm continues to act as lead counsel for a top domestic real estate and infrastructure company in a London-seated international arbitration valued at over $100 million. The dispute arises out of a residential township project that was to be undertaken by the client after the respondent failed to fulfil its obligations under the contract. The matter is highly complicated due to complex legal issues and because the entire transaction spans over 20 years.
In a highly sensitive matter, Singh and his team are assisting a leading domestic real estate company in a treaty arbitration against the Indian government. The firm assisted the Housing Urban Development Corporation before the Supreme Court for the recovery of loans from Saumya Medicare.
In another example of a high-stakes cross-border arbitration, the firm remains active for a major railway construction engineering company in an arbitration invoked against one of the largest South African power companies. The dispute revolves around the construction and electrification of a railway line in South Africa. This time, the arbitration is seated in Paris and was instituted for the recovery of outstanding dues for work done and damages suffered by it under the contract.
“The firm’s drafting and arguments before the court is very convincing. Their time management is very professional.” – Commercial and transactions
“He provides all types of legal solutions very correctly and appropriately, and in a time-bound manner.”
“Sonal is an expert in international arbitration and trademark matters. He is great at relationship building and has good international exposure.”
Amicus Services dispute resolution group is notably experienced in infrastructure and construction arbitration matters, contentious insolvency work and commercial litigation. The team has been very active with lending institutions, private players and public sector undertakings involved in infrastructure arbitration. With the advent of the country’s insolvency and bankruptcy code, the firm’s dedication to this area has grown in the past year. The firm has prepared and defended resolution plans, regularly advises and represents resolution professionals, and is currently representing an association of insolvency professionals in a writ petition in the High Court challenging the vires of certain regulations imposed by the Insolvency Board.
Partner Kinshuk Chatterjee is the main disputes contact at the firm. His practice focuses on restructuring and insolvency, construction and general commercial disputes.
Demonstrating its insolvency prowess, the team is working with a consortium of DMI Alternative Investment Funds in formulating, advising on, successfully negotiating and implementing a plan for the resolution of real estate giant Pawan Impex Private in a corporate insolvency action initiated by a bank. Chatterjee and his team are also acting for a lender in an infrastructure arbitration currently before the Supreme Court. A large domestic non-banking financial company has instructed the firm in its battle against a real estate behemoth for a personal insolvency action before the National Company Law Tribunal.
As an intellectual property powerhouse, Anand and Anand needs no introduction. The firm is unanimously praised by the market across all practice and sectors as having the top IP litigators, particularly on the patent side. It routinely features in landmark decisions and its contentious-focused lawyers are highly sought after for novel, high-stakes and complex IP cases. The firm is a trusted name not just in court litigation, but also through mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods. The firm is spread out across four offices – New Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Noida – and comprises 400 professionals, including 29 partners and three directors.
During last year’s Covid-19 lockdown, the firm displayed its might when it was engaged in 49 IP cases in the second quarter, out of which 42 injunctions were secured on day one. Not only was it the first to file a civil suit under lockdown, it was also responsible for the majority of total IP cases filed. Another display of how the firm protected its clients was in a series of pharmaceutical cases filed under lockdown for AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Merck Sharp, when the firm got entire supply chains injuncted thereby disabling generic drug mafias from exploiting the patent in these unprecedented times. It scored wins in software piracy and technology fraud cases, enabled innovative interpretations of existing software patent legislation and featured in a sizable amount of domain name cases for domestic giants such as Tata and Reliance.
Managing partner and IP litigation maestro Pravin Anand, and partner Vaishali Mittal are key contacts. Other names to note are partners Dhruv Anand, Saif Khan and Shrawan Chopra.
In the world’s very first anti-anti-suit injunction, the firm successfully acted for Interdigital Technology Corporation against Xiaomi. The High Court of Delhi had restrained Xiaomi from enforcing an order of the Wuhan court against its client. The Chinese court had restrained Interdigital from prosecuting Xiaomi for infringing its cellular standard essential patents before the Indian court. In a judgement that was handed down in May 2021, the Delhi High Court created history by confirming and making absolute India’s first anti-anti-suit injunction granted in favour of InterDigital. The case struck a distinction between anti-anti-suit and anti-enforcement injunctions, pointing out how anti-enforcement injunctions do not really require special care and caution. It is a model order in like cases globally and is already being cited as a precedent.
AstraZeneca instructed the team in its patent infringement suit against Micro Labs over its wildly successful diabetes drug Dapagliflozin. The suit claims infringement of AstraZeneca's genus and species patents. The High Court of Delhi had passed an injunction order against Micro Labs, which continues to operate.
The firm is representing the Lysosomal Storage Disorders Support Society of India pro bono and helped the client secure free medical aid for children braving rare genetic disorders after a five years-plus legal battle with the state of Karnataka.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Holdings Ireland, DS Products, Gilead Sciences Ireland, Pharmacyclics and Reliance Industries are recent disputes clients of the firm.
AnantLaw was founded in late 2020, already with a fully formed and experienced litigation team on deck. The group comprises no less than six partners and counsels, and four associates. The young firm is recognised for its contentious antitrust strength, but is active in representing clients on a range of civil, criminal, corporate and commercial disputes. It is involved in the highest number of constitutional challenges to the Competition Act.
Four partners lead the disputes group: Sunil Jain, Anish Gupta, Anu Monga and Rahul Goel. The latter two are competition specialists. Prior to the establishment of AnantLaw, all the partners hailed from the market’s most prestigious firms, such as Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, IndusLaw and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co.
In one commercial disputes highlight, the lawyers are representing the promoters of Solar Industries India before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. The case revolves around a petition filed by the vice-chairman of the company alleging acts of oppression and mismanagement by the majority shareholders of Solar Industries and by other members of the board.
The team is busy assisting Cadila Healthcare in the Supreme Court on the alleged anti-competitive agreement with the Chemists and Druggists Association of India, where various fundamental questions of law pertaining to the Competition Act have been raised. It is also acting for Schott Glass before the Supreme Court in an abuse of dominance matter. Again before the land’s highest court and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, the firm has been instructed by the Builders Association of India in its case relating to a cement cartel.
On the regulatory side, the team is acting for Pravasi Legal Cell in filing a public interest litigation against the arbitrary action of airlines not refunding the full number of tickets for flights that were cancelled due to restrictions imposed by the government of India.
Antitrust counsels Neha Mishra and Nitish Sharma joined last spring from Gaggar & Partners, while consultant Kshitiz Arya was onboarded from the Competition Commission of India.
Key clients include All Cargo Logistics, Allied Financial Services, Forech India, Kegg Farms, Provident Housing, Puravankara, Sumitomo Chemical India and Tranter India.
Boutique firm Archeus Law specialises in dispute resolution in the construction, projects, insolvency, and mining and exploration areas. Notably it excels in the areas of project advisory and contract management. Sector-wise, its litigators have solid experience with energy, highway, bridges and urban infrastructure clients. The firm has alliances in multiple countries to provide seamless advice to clients, including China, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Singapore, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Founding partner Ranjit Prakash leads a disputes-focused team that includes partners Arun Mani, Rajdeep Choudhury and Anshuman Pande. Collectively, their practices cover arbitration and commercial, construction and insolvency disputes.
In an ongoing highlight, the team represented claimant Bihar State Road Development Corporation against Navayuga Jahnavi Toll Bridge in an arbitration filed before the state’s special tribunal on public works arbitration. The dispute relates to a significant highway construction project executed by the State of Bihar under the PPP mechanism. There are multiple highly contentious issues relating to breaches, delays and poor progress of works, as well as claims of future losses.
The firm also remains active for Tantia Raxaultollway (TR) in an arbitration with the National Highways Authority of India. The dispute concerns the construction of a highway. The client terminated its contract and raised serious issues regarding the prevention of works, variations and delays relating to this project. The counterparty, the government of India, has raised a counterclaim and has also levelled allegations of concurrent delays and financial irregularities upon TR.
Other notable clients of the firm are HTG Engineering, Inox Renewables, North Bihar Highways, Runh Power, SEPCO Electric Power Construction Corporation, Shandong Tiejun Electric Power Engineering and Shenzhen Shandong Nuclear Power Construction Corporation.
“The lawyers are sound at legal knowledge and case references. Their teamwork is very efficient.” – Construction
“It is a very good law firm and has been providing law service to us for the last 10 years. The lawyers are professional and highly efficient.” – Construction
“He has excellent knowledge in the sector and also has good contacts with most of the reputed firms.”
The disputes group at Argus Partners continues to score marquee instructions with its sizable team of experienced litigators. The practice has eight partners covering primarily commercial, contractual and regulatory disputes, and it is active in domestic and international arbitrations. The firm has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
Key figures within the team are senior partners R Suhinder, Abeezar Faizullabhoy and Ranjit Shetty. Five other disputes partners round out the group.
The team is representing Western Concessions Private in an arbitration initiated by Afcon Sener, a joint venture between Afcons India and Sener Spain. It is also defending Mercedes Benz India Private in a commercial suit filed by one of its former dealerships which is claiming the client wrongfully terminated the dealership agreement.
The firm represented former PriceWaterhouseCoopers partners in the Satyam scandal. The high-profile and complex matter involves an alleged violation of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act (SEBI), Chartered Accountants Act and alleged serious violations by the auditors of Satyam in conducting the audit. The firm represented its clients before various forums including SEBI, Securities Appellate Tribunal, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India. It also represented partners in the proceedings initiated by SEBI and ICAI and has filed petitions before the High Court and Supreme Court of India.
In a landmark matter, the firm continues to act for a client in the seminal Sabarimala matter, which deals with the entry of women in a temple. This has been one of the most significant constitutional cases in the country deciding on the equal rights of women. This case judgement, which will be decided by a rare nine-judge bench, will have a significant impact on all religions. It will settle the law as regards the interpretation of two articles of the constitution. It will clarify the rights of religious denominations and the extent to which they can manage affairs of religion.
The firm welcomed disputes partner Udit Mendiratta last year from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. Partner Shahen Pradhan left the firm to start his own practice as an independent counsel.
The firm counts ABB, Edelweiss, ICICI Bank, IL&FS Investment Managers, HDFC Group, KKR, Tata Group, Volkswagen Group and Volvo as loyal clients.
Intellectual property boutique Ashwathh Legal recently celebrated its first birthday after being established in December 2020 by a group of senior IP practitioners. The firm’s focused practice areas include IP rights, litigation, investigation and enforcement, data privacy and security, trade compliance and legal metrology. The group’s contentious portfolio cuts across a variety of industry sectors such as life sciences and pharmaceuticals, media and technology, transportation, FMCG, apparel and e-commerce. The firm’s lawyers collectively have worked on an extensive array of civil, commercial and criminal litigation for domestic and offshore clients.
Managing partner Prabhu Tandon is the key contact among a group of five partners that also includes Kripa Pandit, Sumit Sharma, Kanika Aeri and Lalima Tandon.
A highlight matter for the firm saw it acting for Zee Entertainment Enterprises in a high-value dispute involving copyright ownership of certain movies against Satish Tandon Productions. The team was recruited by Dabur India for the takedown of defamatory videos posted by the defendant on social media platforms, namely Facebook, Google and Twitter.
The formidable AZB & Partners has a seasoned and respected dispute resolution team comprising some of the leading practitioners in the market. The firm has offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, with no less than 21 disputes partners covering the full range of practice areas. Its core strength is corporate disputes, stemming from its top-tier M&A, competition and private equity transactional practices. There is an increasing trend, however, where clients are generated by the disputes team independent of the firm’s other transactional areas. Arbitration is another key strength for the team, having played leading roles in landmark decisions that have sculpted the domestic arbitration landscape. Recently, the firm has forayed into emerging areas of practice, for example handling disputes in the realm of new technology such as high frequency trading technology, fintech, privacy and technology regulation. It has been gaining experience also in third-party litigation and arbitration.
Noted partners include Rajendra Barot, Vijayendra Pratap, Aditya Vikram Bhat and Sonali Mathur. Market legend and rainmaker Zia Mody specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, regulatory and white-collar crime.
In a high-profile matter, the team is defending the National Stock Exchange of India (NSEI) against a suit commenced by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). These proceedings arise from an extensive investigation by SEBI into the affairs of NSEI and involve questions on the parameters of a direction of disgorgement in securities laws and the scope of “fair and equitable” standard to be adopted by stock exchanges.
Another marquee litigation has the team championing Amazon.com for its international arbitration against the Future Group. The case spotlights the first Emergency Award under Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) arbitration enforced in India. The matter involved various issues inter alia, legal status of an emergency arbitrator and its order, validity of incorporating institutional rules which provide for emergency arbitration while the governing law is silent on the issue, the doctrine of group of companies and non-signatory as a party to an arbitration. The Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the Emergency Award. The verdict of the land’s top court has altered India’s arbitration landscape as the determination of validity and the legal status of emergency arbitration is a first of a kind and a landmark judgement in the Indian arbitration jurisprudence with far-reaching impact internationally.
The AZB team continues to assist HSBC in the enforcement proceedings of an SIAC award before the High Court of Bombay, proceedings for interim reliefs and the contempt proceedings before the Supreme Court of India. The SIAC award grants HSBC’s claim of $60 million against Avitel Post Studioz and its promoters. The enforcement proceedings have been resisted by the counterparty, inter alia, on grounds of the inarbitrability of issues settled by the arbitral tribunal, violation of the principles of natural justice, a bias of members of the arbitral tribunal, and that the enforcement of the SIAC award would violate the public policy of India. This Supreme Court decision on the critical issue of fraud and arbitrability is a landmark arbitration-related judgement.
Noteworthy moves last year include the hirings of partner Ram Kumar Poornachandran from TT&A and counsel Richa Srivastava from his own independent practice. Competition partner Aditi Gopalakrishnan left for an in-house role at Google.
The firm boasts some of the corporate world’s biggest stars as loyal disputes clients, such as Facebook, IHH Healthcare, KKR, KPMG, Nissan Motors, and Tata Steel. Recent clients include Duff & Phelps India, India Ratings and Research, Reserve Bank of India, Film & Television Producers Guild of India, the National Stock Exchange of India and Western Geco International.
“Quality advice and representation including wide network with local lawyers.” – Commercial and transactions
“Effective in arguments based on their legal research and analysis.” – Competition and antitrust
“They are very knowledgeable on trademark and copyright laws.” – Intellectual property
“He is logical in advising clients, and prepares and argues well.”
“Very knowledgeable and a good client manager.”
“He gives expert and practical advice, is available at short notice, and is well connected within India. He is fully conversant with local practices and local strategies.”
Intellectual property boutique law firm Beruar & Beruar recently marked its fourth anniversary. It has grown every year from strength to strength, rapidly collecting a diverse client base ranging from Fortune 200 companies to startups across IP-rich industries. The team has been actively representing clients in civil, commercial and criminal proceedings before all court levels in India, and before tribunals such as the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. The firm’s sector strengths are highlighted in its impressive roster of industry-leading clients, particularly in publishing and education, auto and auto components, and healthcare.
The main contact is co-founder and managing partner Rahul Beruar.
The firm successfully secured a dynamic injunction against multiple third-party anonymous websites and platforms that were infringing upon client India Today Group’s trademark and brand Aaj Tak. This is one of the few dynamic injunctions granted by courts in India in trademark infringement cases, and it offers the trademark owner a cost-effective and time-efficient solution for effective enforcement of their exclusive trademark rights.
KIPS Learning has instructed the firm for its copyright infringement suit against a defendant for unauthorisedly infringing on the client’s original computer education books. The Delhi High Court granted an ex parte ad-interim injunction against the defendant, restraining it from infringing the clients’ copyright.
The team continues to represent plaintiffs Living Media India and TV Today Network in a domain name purchase dispute. The team assisted its clients to secure the transfer of the impugned domain in its favour and the dispute was resolved within two months of the suit’s initiation. The same clients enlisted the firm in a separate trademark infringement suit against a third party that had adopted a mark that was identical to its device marks for its news channel. The firm was immediately successful in securing an ex parte ad-interim injunction against the defendant and restraining it from using the trademark in any manner.
A few of the new clients the firm picked up last year include Bloomsbury Publishing, CBRE Incorporated, Medlife International, SAR Group and SRM Foundation of India. Other notable instructions came from Anand Automotive Group, Kohler, Macmillan Publishers, Novo Nordisk, Pearson Education and Springer Nature Group.
“Timely responses, cost-efficient services, and detailed advice.” – Intellectual property
“He manages all key issues, has out-of-the-box solutions and is fiercely process-driven.”
Bharucha Partners has a widely respected disputes offering, with its partners boasting a proven track record of successfully handling complex commercial disputes. A review of its submitted and publishable cases from last year revealed no less than 10 precedent-setting matters. The partners have over five decades of litigation experience collectively and the firm adopts a strategy of creating lean teams of skilled lawyers to meet the needs of its clients. The firm has offices in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru, and has represented clients in over 30 different courts, including the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts around the country. The team has also made frequent appearances before various specialist tribunals like the Competition Commission of India, the National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal, and the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity.
Senior partner MP Bharucha is a much-lauded name by market watchers. He helms a six-partner strong dispute resolution group that includes DP Singh, Karthik Somasundaram and Sneha Jaisingh.
The firm successfully represented Prysmian Cavi e Sistemi in an arbitration governed by the London Court of International Arbitration and subsequent enforcement proceedings before the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court in relation to disputes arising out of a joint venture agreement with several Indian parties. This mandate has led to a clear and unequivocal Supreme Court decision on the scope of interference with foreign arbitral awards and how courts must view the grounds pleaded to resist enforcement. The judgement is one of a kind, in that it is the first detailed decision on the subject.
The team is acting for Lapis India Capital in five separate arbitration proceedings for overseas and domestic funds managed by the client concerning infrastructure projects developed through public-private participation in four cities in the state of Gujarat and in Mumbai, state of Maharashtra. The matter features complex issues relating to foreign exchange laws and quantification of damages due to the mismanagement in development of infrastructure projects.
Lawyers are representing Diageo in an appeal filed before the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) and Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI)[WC(1] [MC(2] . This matter involves a SEBI order directing the client to pay additional amounts of more than $140 million to minority shareholders of United Spirits when its shares were tendered in the first open offer in 2013, on the allegation that the earlier open offer price had not factored in the bank guarantee Diageo had provided to Watson Limited. The matter before the SAT and SEBI is significant since it involves the question of what constitutes acquisition price under the Takeover Regulations and the interpretation of two specific regulations in this code. This is the first instance that this question of law has arisen and the decision in this matter will settle the jurisprudence in this regard and will govern all open offers made pursuant to the Takeover Regulations.
In a high-profile case that comingles elements of white-collar crime, labour, commercial and government, the firm featured prominently for clients Avantha Holdings, Solaris Industrial Chemicals and four individuals in various proceedings in connection with the alleged fraud in CG Power and Industrial Solutions. It represented the clients before the SEBI, the SAT, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the National Company Law Tribunal. The firm strategised the overall defences before the various judicial forums. As the matter continues, it is expected to clarify issues of responsibility and liability of listed companies, their boards, independent directors and auditors.
The team continues to represent the Central Bureau of Investigation and Directorate of Enforcement as a special public prosecutor and special counsel, respectively, in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam estimated to have caused a wrongful loss of $480 million to the government. The team also advised the government on the extradition of the main accused from the United Arab Emirates. This case will yield an impact on the question of ”double jeopardy”, since the acquittal in Italy is juxtaposed with the ongoing investigation and trial by the Indian authority and courts for the same case. It will settle the law in relation to the revocation of approver status at the stage of the investigation and the consequent cancellation of bail granted to the approver and claims to be a witness. Going forward, the case would also involve questions of the evidentiary value of documents collected by foreign agencies and received by India under letter rogatory.
The firm welcomed partner Shreya Sircar from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co last year. Her practice focuses on commercial and regulatory disputes and international arbitration.
Other clients for the disputes group last year include Alchem International, Besso, Diageo, ITC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Sony Pictures Network India, Unitech Wireless and Vodafone Idea.
Boutique tax firm BMR Legal Advocates is led by the highly esteemed advocate Mukesh Butani. Peers and clients acknowledge he is a true tax litigation star. The firm has grown every year since its establishment and this year further hired transfer pricing and international tax partner Seema Jariwala and a managing associate specialising in goods and service tax (GST), customs and foreign trade policy to deepen its tax bench. The firm’s seasoned lawyers cover corporate international tax, transfer pricing, GST, customs and trade, tax litigation, tax controversy management, strategic tax advisory and policy. The firm also acts as an expert witness on treaty and transfer pricing law. Butani has led on multiple landmark tax-related judgements, for example, playing a key role in the country’s most significant transfer pricing dispute on share issuance transaction.
Direct tax guru Butani helms the firm alongside indirect tax partner Tarun Jain.
The firm has been instrumental in many high-profile tax dispute cases that end up setting case law. In an example from last year, the firm acted for IBM India Private in a case against the Commissioner of Income Tax that resulted in a landmark judgement that settled a long-running contentious issue over how payments made by Indian customers to non-resident suppliers for the use or resale of computer software should be characterised. The decision of this case provided much-needed tax certainty on the issue.
In a similar seminal case, Butani and his team are acting for Canon India Private in a matter that revolves around marketing intangibles, wherein it is alleged that the advertisement, marketing and promotion (AMP) spend of an Indian company is applied towards enhancement of the brand value of the intellectual property of its overseas parent company. The Supreme Court’s decision is likely to settle the issue whether excessive AMP expenses would constitute an ”international transaction”. There are diverging views amongst various Tribunal High Court judgements, which do not provide a clear guidance on the issue. This is an all-industry and cross-jurisdictional issue and more than 50 matters are tagged before the Supreme Court. Its authoritative pronouncement would be a significant milestone for international tax jurisprudence.
Lionbridge Technologies instructed the firm to act before the same Appellate Tribunal in a matter related to the reassessment leading to the disallowance of payments to non-residents. The final decision resolved that when the taxpayer has truly and fully disclosed all the material facts necessary for the original assessment before the assessing officer, the assessment cannot be reopened under Section 147 of the Act after the expiry of four years from the end of the relevant assessment year.
3M India, CWT India, Marvell India and Xander Advisors India are some of the firm’s key clients.
Full-service firm Clasis Law is experienced with contentious insolvency matters. The team recently represented Singapore-based Macquarie Bank before the Supreme Court of India and secured a landmark judgement which has provided a reprieve to several creditors based overseas. The Clasis lawyers are currently representing various financial institutions, companies in the hospitality sector, shipping companies and information technology companies before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for initiation of the insolvency resolution process against corporate debtors.
Partners Mustafa Motiwala and Shwetabh Sinha are the key figures for general commercial disputes, contentious shipping issues and insolvency matters. Motiwala’s practice also focuses on competition, intellectual property, estate, and technology, media and telecommunications.
In one recent highlight, the firm is representing a Singapore-based company as the majority shareholder of an Indian power generation company before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal against an order passed by the NCLT regarding a case of oppression and mismanagement that was filed by the client. On the maritime front, the team is acting for a Germany-based shipping company to file an application under the insolvency code to seek the condonation of delay and directions to the liquidator for admitting and verifying the client’s claim. In another bankruptcy matter, the firm is representing a BVI[WC(1] mining and power company in preparation for its resolution plan approval concerning a corporate debtor.
As one of the country’s largest and most successful full-service law firms, it’s not surprising that Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas boasts a well-honed and experienced dispute resolution team. Its pan-India practice is part of an established legacy that has secured the trust of its clients and counsel in India and across the globe. The litigation team has vast experience in handling complex litigations involving commercial and corporate disputes including arbitration, infrastructure, companies law-related matter, insolvency and bankruptcy, competition, government action, electricity laws, intellectual property, mining laws, white-collar and criminal law, telecom and data privacy. The firm has experienced an uptick in contentious insolvency work and it uniquely has a panel of senior retired regulatory experts specialising in key sectors.
The key figures for dispute resolution are managing partner Cyril Shroff, and various department leaders Bharat Vasani, Indranil Deshmukh, and Shaneen Parikh. Partners Faraz Alam Sagar, Kapil Arora and Ankoosh Mehta are the white collar crime experts.
In a significant cross-border, white-collar crime matter, the firm advised and defended the executive vice president of SBI Caps in a criminal prosecution initiated by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) for alleged conspiracy in the Kingfisher Airlines restructuring and default case alleging losses to a consortium of Indian banks. This is one of the largest prosecutions brought by the SFIO under the Companies Act.
In another complex, cross-border and high-stakes case, the team advised NSE Indices against two wholly owned Singapore Stock Exchange subsidiaries. The dispute relates to the intellectual property in derivative indices. Only a handful of similar cases exist worldwide and there is no law at present for these complex IP products anywhere around the world. Such a dispute has never been contested in India and the stakes involve the very existence of the commercial stock exchanges.
The team is currently representing the Volkswagen Group companies in proceedings before the Supreme Court. This particular case is a landmark one because the judge imposed a penalty on the client without determining or specifying any provision of law that had been violated by the group. The judge had passed the order on the basis of the ‘on the road’ tests that were conducted on the Volkswagen-manufactured vehicles, even though such a test has zero legal basis or validity under Indian law. Appeals have been filed by the lawyers and the Supreme Court has directed that no coercive steps be taken against Volkswagen India.
Recent clients of the firm include Bank of Baroda, BCCI, Fortis Hospitals, IDBI Bank, IFC, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services, Narang Group, Piramal Group and State Bank of India.
Full-service law firm Dhir & Dhir Associates is famed for its market-leading insolvency practice and it has an active dispute resolution group. Its core dispute specialties, in addition to insolvency, are commercial, construction and government and regulatory. The firm has handled more than 60% of all cases before the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction and its Appellate Authority, and currently handles more than 25% of total non-performing assets in India. A review of the firm’s regulatory highlights demonstrates it has been very active for the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India last year, appearing on behalf of the regulator in multiple cases. The firm has five offices across the country – Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bengaluru – and a representative office in Japan.
Managing partners Alok Dhir and Maneesha Dhir head a team of partners that lead the disputes offering. These include Sachin Gupta, Jayashree Shukla Dasgupta, Varsha Banerjee and Purusharth Singh.
The firm continues to represent Jindal India Thermal Power, developers of thermal power plants for generation and supply of electricity in the country, in its ongoing restructuring proposal. It is defending the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in the appeals of Aircel and Dishnet Wireless before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. The telecoms regulator routinely instructs the team for its contentious matters.
The firm’s dominance in insolvency and restructuring is evidenced by its heavy caseload acting for various parties before the National Company Law Tribunal with their resolution plans. For example, it has been instructed by the promoter group and ex-directors of an India-based paper manufacturer, a domestic irrigation company, and a local real estate and infrastructure group in this type of work.
Partner Purusharth Singh is experienced in contentious projects matters. She joined the firm mid-2021 from Suzlon Group of Companies.
A sample of the firm’s key clients includes Avantha Holdings, Binani Industries, Essar Steel India, IDBI Bank, Jaypee Infratech, Jindal Steel & Power, Moser Baer India, Punjab National Bank, Metalyst Forgings, Soma Enterprise, Rural Electrification Corporation and Trident Infrahomes. Recent panel wins for the team include the State Bank of India, India Infrastructure Finance Company and National Fertilisers.
DSK Legal brings deep experience to dispute resolution clients across a range of corporate and commercial matters. These include commercial, regulatory, securities, criminal and constitutional litigation, along with domestic and international arbitration. With a team led by high-profile and experienced litigators across multiple areas and at all levels of court, the firm consistently finds itself on complex, novel and landmark matters. For example, the team was successful in winning one of the first arbitrations conducted under the rule of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce.
The disputes team is led by nine dedicated partners: managing partner Anand Desai, Nirav Shah, Jatin Pore, Kirat Singh Nagra, Dinesh Pardasani, Samir Malik, Kartik Yadav, Parag Khandhar and Samit Shukla.
In a case that reads like fiction, the DSK team represented its clients in a suit filed by someone claiming to be the adopted son of Gangubai Harjivandas. This individual alleged in a suit that the contents of the chapter of book The Mafia Queens of Mumbai – on which the movie named Gangubai Kathiawadi is based – are defamatory and constitute an infringement of his right to privacy, self-respect and liberty. The top-tier media lawyers argued extensively and were able to have the suit rejected by the court.
The team remains active in its representation of Flipkart in an ongoing criminal case involving the unauthorised sale of items under the Indian Arms Act and in violation of provisions of the criminal code. Its role encompasses all aspects of litigation and trial support, including advising on legal strategy, drafting and filing of anticipatory and regular bail applications and quashing petitions, and appearing before the High Court of Bombay. This is a unique and significant case, as it involves the obligations and responsibilities of an e-commerce platform and service provider. The law on the responsibility of an e-commerce platform and the service provider is ambiguous and the degree of responsibility and the amount of diligence they have to conduct is not set out. The case is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court and the law on this aspect will be clarified.
In another highlight, the firm acted for its clients, a group of 38 plaintiffs that includes the Producers Guild of India and three Bollywood industry associations and thirty-four leading Bollywood producers, to file a suit before the Delhi High Court against various defendants such as Republic TV, Arnab Goswami, Times Now, Navika Kumar, ABP News, Zee News, TV9 New, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They are seeking injunction orders to restrain the media outlets from directly or indirectly making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against any one or more of the plaintiffs. The matter was heard by Delhi High Court for interim reliefs and as an interim measure, the court has recorded the assurances given by the defendants that they will follow the Cable TV Act and Rules and the Programme Code and will not upload any defamatory contents on social media platforms administered by them or broadcast anything on their respective news channels.
In another highlight, the firm acted for petitioner CREDAI-MCHI, an association of over 1,400 real estate developers in Mumbai, in a writ petition filed before the Supreme Court. It is seeking reliefs in the extraordinary circumstances resulting from the restriction on the clients’ right to carry on business imposed due to Covid-19 with no attendant effective reliefs granted by the concerned authorities. This writ petition, along with other pending petitions in the Supreme Court, has huge implications in terms of determination of reliefs for sectors and individuals in light of the hardships faced during the pandemic. The Supreme Court has specifically directed the Union of India and the Reserve Bank of India to address issues in response to the various grievances which have been raised by the affected sectors.
Partners Ravi Prakash and Nand Kishore departed last year to start their own independent counsel practice.
Other significant clients that worked with the firm over the past year include Air India, GMR Infrastructure, IIRF Holdings, Kotak India Venture Fund, Larsen & Toubro, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Pranurja Solutions, Transcon Skycity and Vistra ITCL.
“They have provided excellent strategic advice on various complexities involved in the dispute.” – Commercial and transactions
“Excellent strategy, turnaround time and arguments.” – White-collar crime
“We appreciated the way they represented and protected us in such a cumbersome criminal justice system in India.” – White-collar crime
“It gives sound legal advice in a challenging legal environment like India.” – White-collar crime
“He is attentive, provides excellent service, and has an in-depth knowledge of the law in India.”
Dua Associates boasts a respected, experienced and truly pan-Asia dispute resolution practice that provides a full suite of contentious services. In particular, the team is adept at complex and high-stakes disputes involving the environment, constitutional and administrative laws, contracts, white-collar and regulatory matters, intellectual property, international trade, and corporate and commercial litigations. The team is active daily before various judicial and arbitral forums in India, including state courts, the Supreme Court and numerous judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals. The group itself comprises more than 100 lawyers spread out across India, located in offices in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune.
A unique feature of the firm is that it has a robust and dedicated Supreme Court presence through Dua Associates AoR, a firm of Advocates-on-Record (AoR) registered with the Supreme Court. The present AoR of the firm form the bulwark of the Supreme Court practice, ably supported by other partners who appear as well as assist senior counsels with their teams. The AoR firm is based in Delhi and the other seven offices of Dua Associates are in complete sync with this Supreme Court practice.
Senior solicitor and partner Shiraz Patodia is a key figure on the disputes team. The sizable practice features 11 other partners including Shishir Sharma, Rajdeep Panda, Ashish Singh, Amit Dhingra and George Joseph.
In an example of the top-tier work the firm handles, the team continues to counsel Dow Chemical in an extremely complex and contentious litigation before the Supreme Court. The dispute emanates from a toxic industrial disaster that occurred in Bhopal in 1984 wherein the union of India and certain NGOs have sought enhanced compensation by filing a curative petition. The matter is of great importance as the country’s highest court is likely to opine on the civil liability of a successor operation and vicarious liability of a corporation in a mass environmental tort action, as well as deliberate on amenability to jurisdiction.
On the tax side, the team is acting for Kodak Group Companies in an anti-dumping investigation concerning the import of digital plates from China PR, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. The case was initiated by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies at the behest of Technova Imaging Systems. Based on submissions made by the firm, the client was granted a nil rate of anti-dumping duty. This non-levy on duty on Kodak group has been challenged by the domestic industry before the tribunal. The case raises important questions regarding determination of duty on ”related entities” and on an entity that ceases to manufacture the subject goods during the period of investigation.
The Dua team is representing McCann Erickson Worldwide Advertising and Mc Cann Erickson India and their officials, in a suit filed by an ex-employee of the Indian entity, alleging sexual harassment at the workplace and claiming monetary damages.
Disputes specialist Ganesh Chandru joined the firm in February 2020 from Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan. He works with clients across the energy, oil and gas, infrastructure and construction industries.
Commercial Bank of Dubai, Decathlon, Filmtec Corporation, Indus Motor India, Piramal Fund Management, Shell India and Zhejiang Jiuli Hi-Tech Metals also instructed the disputes team last year.
“The firm has provided us with high quality anti-dumping advice in a number of anti-dumping actions. This has been instrumental in positioning our business in India.” – Trade and customs
“Shiraz is uniformly excellent in the service and advice she provides.”
The dispute resolution group at Economic Laws Practice excels in competition, international arbitration, regulatory and tax work. Its white-collar crimes practice is maturing and the team has seen increasing work in this space. These practices are regarded as some of the top in the country, with many peers and clients affirming their dominance in these areas. The team is proud of its in-house advocacy capabilities, which enables its lawyers to provide to clients a holistic review of all relevant matters in a dispute. The firm recently opened a new office in Gujarat.
Twelve senior lawyers are focused purely on litigation, arbitration and dispute resolution, including partners Naresh Thacker, Jitendra Motwani, Ashish Prasad, Hardik Modh and Dinesh Pednekar.
In one publishable matter, the arbitration team is busy defending Heligo Charters Private against Aircon Beibars to oppose the enforcement of a Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) award. The case raises several important legal questions. The tribunal awarded the price of goods under a contract to a party which had earlier terminated the contract. The tribunal thus granted specific performance of a terminated contract which is impermissible under the laws of UK, Singapore and India. The award remained unchallenged, and the team is opposing the enforcement of the same in India as it is opposed to Indian law. It remains to be seen whether the court is inclined to accept the argument that a foreign award should not be enforced in India if it is contrary to Indian law.
The team successfully represented Japanese transformer company Takaoka Toko before the SIAC emergency arbitrator and tribunal. The disputes involved the interpretation of a price escalation clause and whether there was a breach when the bank guarantee was not extended by the client. During the pandemic, this was possibly the first arbitration to involve an emergency interim relief application. The final award was passed in favour of the client.
The firm represented Dutch client, Elster-Instromet BV before the Bombay High Court in an appeal against an interim relief granted against the client by its joint venture partner, Mrunal Gandhi. The disputes pertain to allegations of breach of non-compete. The client has counter-claimed prior breaches by Mrunal Gandhi and terminated the JV agreement.
In a key tax dispute, the tax litigation team acted for Adani Wilmar in a dispute with the government on whether Social Welfare Charge (SWS) is payable when the basic customs duty is exempted in terms of various notifications. The case has a far-reaching impact as to whether SWS, which is essentially a duty paid on the basic customs duty, is payable when the basic duty is exempted. Once the matter is decided, its impact will be applicable pan-India as many other importers are facing similar issues with the department on this front.
The firm welcomed litigation and arbitration partner Mumtaz Bhalla from L&L Partners in the summer of 2021.
Notable recent clients of the firm are All Cargo Logistics, Advanced MedTech Solutions, Cargo Motors, Coca-Cola, Duff & Phelps, INX Media, Lex Sportel Vision and Tata Sons.
“The team at ELP is a pleasure to work with. The lawyers are smart, hard-working and good with clients. They make it easy to combine and provide a comprehensive team to a client.” – Construction
“Great commercial and strategic advice and client management.” – Commercial and transactions
“Blending the legal advice with practical solutions is their strength.” – Tax
“Naresh combines high technical legal ability with a real understanding of the construction industry and the arbitration of their disputes.”
“Brilliant leadership and commercial acumen.”
“He is very thorough from a legal perspective and his ability to blend practical perspectives makes him a go-to lawyer.”
“He is a very able leader who works hard with the team.”
“Ashish Prasad is sharp, pragmatic in his advice and knows how to navigate tough issues. His client care is excellent. He is ably supported by junior partner, Mukta Dutta. The team works very hard and are at the top of the market in terms of quality.”
Intellectual property specialist firm Fidus Law Chambers is rising in prominence for its handling of several landmark cases last year. Peers and clients have attested to the quality of its work. Its litigation offering encompasses the full scope of intellectual property, such as trademark domain disputes and infringement actions, and disputes relating to patent, copyright, design, trade secret and geographical indication. The team boasts a success rate in the high 90s. The firm recently expanded its capabilities by merging with another IP firm, DA Law Chambers.
For all IP contentious matters, the main contacts at the firm are managing partner Shwetasree Majumder, and partners Tanya Varma, Diva Arora and Prithvi Singh.
The firm is acting for plaintiff Sotkon in seeking a permanent injunction restraining defendants from infringing on the client’s copyrights and patents. The defendants have blatantly copied photographs of Sokton’s products published in various articles and illustrations from the client’s brochures. In addition, the defendants are also proposing to offer a product that is covered by the client’s patent.
The firm is assisting KFC International in filing a lawsuit seeking to restrain the use of marks LFC[WC(1] and Chicken Zinger, deceptively similar logos and identical colour combination as by the opposite party. The impugned marks were being used by the opposite party for identical goods and services. Ultimately the suit was decided in favour of KFC.
Western Digital has instructed the team to file a suit seeking permanent injunction restraining misuse of the trademarks WESTERN DIGITAL, WD, MY PASSPORT and MY CLOUD. One of the defendants had incorporated these in his domain names and was using it on the website. An ad interim injunction was granted against this individual.
The team successfully helped one of its clients obtain an injunction along with an Anton Piller order in composite suits filed for infringement of trademarks, designs and patents against manufacturers of textile loom machines based in Coimbatore.
Mattel, Phillips 66 Company, Sporta Technologies and USV engaged the firm last year for their contentious matters.
The pan-India litigation team at Fox Mandal handles a broad range of disputes. Key areas of contentious specialism include intellectual property, employment, insolvency, real estate and banking. The team’s domestic and international clients come from multiple sectors such as hotels, retail shops, manufacturers, non-banking financial institutions, public sector undertakings, infrastructure companies and media houses, to name a few.
The core partners for contentious work include employment specialist Kaustuv Chunder, Jeevanandham Rajagopal, Vijay Kumar Reddy, real estate expert ST Prashantha Kumar and Shyam Sundar.
In one highlight, the team defended Viacom 18 and its streaming platform VOOT in a suit which was filed seeking an injunction against its broadcast of cinematograph films of Kannada language on OTT platforms on the ground of alleged infringement of copyright. The scope of this case is significant since the opponent is an association of film producers and it is seeking a blanket injunction on telecasting nearly 100 cinematograph films of Kannada language on OTT platforms altogether.
The team is assisting GM Infinite Dwelling in pursuing a claim towards damages against a few of the flat allottees who are involved in defaming the client’s real estate project development. In another property matter, the lawyers are counselling over 35 clients of Hoysala Projects Private seeking compensation from the developer for a delay in the delivery of the possession of flats. After numerous negotiations, the builder has agreed to settle the matter by entering into a settlement agreement.
Notable clients include Barclays, DBS Bank, IL&FS Financial Services, L&T Realty Developers, Orient Cement and Wells Fargo.
Gaggar & Partners is widely recognised for its expertise in competition and antitrust matters. As well as this area, the disputes team is experienced and adept at a range of dispute types such as advising clients in civil commercial disputes, white-collar crime, personal laws including divorce, custody, estate management, real estate disputes and arbitrations.
It represents on all sides of the competition spectrum, sometimes for the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and at other times for domestic and international private clients. It has also been engaged separately by the investigative arm of the antitrust regulator for representation in certain sensitive cases relating to the evolving jurisprudence on investigation.The firm has been involved in most of the high-stake and jurisprudence-setting cases in the genre across various fora. For instance, the competition team has handled the largest case in Indian competition history relating to cartels and worked on the largest penalty imposed in a case for abuse of dominance.Similarly, the firm has pioneered in cases relating to the leniency regime in India.
The key individuals for dispute resolution are managing partner Monica Lakhanpal and partner Sumedha Dang.
Recently, the firm successfully obtained a favourable acquittal order for NTN Corporation Japan, where the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had dismissed the leniency petitions filed by two major Japanese bearings companies. This is the first ever case where despite there being two leniency applications in an alleged three-member cartel, the CCI could not find sufficient evidence against NTN Corporation.
The team is representing Panipat Jalandhar NH1 Tollway in an arbitration proceeding against the National Highways Authority of India, pending before a tribunal consisting of three retired Supreme Court judges. The dispute revolves around the construction, maintenance and operation of a six-laned highway section in the state of Haryana and Punjab. Another victory saw the team defend Krishna Buildestate Private in an objection petition filed before the High Court of Delhi by having the appeal filed by the judgement debtor dismissed.
Key clients include Citibank, Denso Ten, Fastway Transmission, Haicheng Vivo Mobile, Hyatt Hotel, Intex Technologies, Orris Infrastructure and Toyo Tire Corporation.
Boutique law firm Goswami & Nigam has a young team that is experienced in a variety of dispute resolution matters, such as commercial litigation, contentious employment issues, property disputes, intellectual property disputes, recovery suits and alternative dispute resolution. The nearly two-year old firm has offices in Gurgaon, Chandigarh and Delhi, and plans to open up an office in Bangalore by mid-2022. The firm has seen enormous growth in advising and representing start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprise clients.
Partners Himanshu Goswami and Nishant Nigam are the two main contacts at the firm. Nigam in particular is the litigation specialist.
One recent highlight had the team acting for Brahmaputra Infrastructure in a matter relating to the delivery, testing and commissioning of oxygen pipelines in a government-run hospital. The client had entrusted the project to a third-party vendor and the dispute arose when the project was not completed in time and there were outstanding amounts owed under the purchase order. The vendor then filed for an arbitral award. The firm helped the client file a petition before the court challenging the award and obtained an interim stay upon the operation of the award.
The firm is acting for GIP India in a suit filed by an employee for alleged wrongful termination of services whereby complicated legal issues of conflict between jurisdiction of the civil courts and labour courts are involved. Unique Décor has instructed Nigam and his team on multiple matters before the courts emanating from work orders that it had issued for a project at one of the High Commissions in Delhi. Another matter pertains to the recovery of money suit initiated by another company against the client originating from a lease deed.
Active clients of the group include Fast Track Facilities, Feministaa Media, Grandeur Business Solutions, RSC Infratech Developers and Swami International Back Office Services.
Founded in 2015 with offices in Delhi and Mumbai, Gravitas Legal is a real estate specialist firm that regularly works with property developers, institutional lenders and property investors for their civil and criminal litigation needs. It also has robust contentious insolvency and commercial litigation practices. The litigation team was bolstered last year with the hiring of disputes and real estate specialist Rajeev Aggarwal from RA Law Offices.
Partners Tanuj Sud and Rahul Gaikwad are the main contacts of the disputes practice. Other names to note are Varij Sharma and Priyanka Bharti.
The team is acting for the resolution professional of the Shirt Company India in pre-existing disputes related to ownership of the properties of the corporate debtor. This case is expected to lay the grounds for the resolution professional as to the manner in which the corporate insolvency resolution process may be conducted in view of pre-existing disputes related to ownership of the properties of corporate debtor.
ROC Foods has instructed the firm to handle numerous commercial litigation matters at various courts around the country. The team is additionally assisting CityFurnish India recover outstanding dues in arbitration proceedings. The firm is working with Essel Infraprojects in a company petition filed under the insolvency code. Several noteworthy questions of law were raised in this case about whether the creditor had the authority to advance a loan to any debtor without any special general board resolution.
In a matter pending before the Supreme Court, the firm continues to represent the Citrus Welfare Society, which filed a special leave petition. This is a potential landmark case that will help provide a safeguard to investors being fraudulently duped by companies in which they invest their money.
In another insolvency-related dispute pending before the Supreme Court and a regional High Court, the team remains active for ACCIL Auto Steels and ACCIL Steel Processors in relation to their rights and interest as a lessee in a property owned by a corporate debtor that is undergoing the insolvency resolution process.
Other recent dispute clients include Burger King India, Pravarsh Impex and Rajesh Projects India.
Based in Mumbai, Hitesh Sanghvi Law Offices has an active dispute resolution practice with core focuses on banking and finance, corporate and white-collar crime contentious matters. It has sector strengths in industrials, electrical equipment, healthcare, medical equipment, and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI). Its disputes client base is formed by foreign and domestic corporations, as well as high-net-worth individuals.
Founder Hitesh Sanghvi is the head of the dispute resolution practice. He specialises in commercial, construction, banking, employment and white-collar crime litigation.
In an ongoing case, the firm continues to defend the promoter of a technology company against allegations of siphoning funds from a publicly traded company. It advised the client on investigations initiated by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the Enforcement Directorate.
In another matter with white-collar crime and regulatory elements, the firm remains core counsel for Gearspect Europe concerning a supply contract conflict of alleged improper payments connected to the award of a contract for high-end gear equipment used in the Indian Air Force.
The dispute resolution practice at Hitesh Soni & Associates is well-rounded. It covers corporate disputes, commercial disputes, regulatory disputes, tax disputes, domestic and international arbitration and white-collar crimes. Firm founder Hitesh Soni is an advocate as well, so the firm is able to handle cases in a dual capacity, as solicitor and counsel. The firm has experience in contentious matters across various fora, from the lower courts to the Supreme Court. Of the nine major closed cases the team has handled in the past 12 months, the lawyers have won five of them and the remainder are ongoing.
The firm and disputes offering is led by Hitesh Soni, whose practice focuses on commercial litigation, arbitration, alternative dispute resolution and contentious matters related to employment, private clients and customs.
Soni and his team are defending SunBlink Real Estate and Cloud Nine against separate Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code proceedings initiated by Union of India through an appointed administrator. P&M Hi Tech Infrastructure has instructed the firm in relation to a dispute it has with the establishment of a Radisson hotel in Jamshedpur.
On the employment front, the team is advising All India IDBI Officers Association in a writ petition against the Union of India in the Bombay High Court. The client is claiming relief that officials who joined IDBI Bank after 2012 should not be covered under a new pension scheme.
The dispute resolution group at IndusLaw comprises seasoned professionals handling all matters of corporate litigation and arbitration. The firm aims to build strong, stable and competent litigation teams equally across all offices to provide true pan-Indian service. Its urgency to keep up with the uptick in work flow and growth of its newer litigation offerings in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad resulted in the recent addition of four lateral partner hires and an internal partnership promotion. The advocacy-focused team handles a diverse range of matters, such as international and domestic arbitrations, commercial disputes, intellectual property, real estate, insolvency, writ petitions, constitutional law, recovery suits, public interest litigations and pro bono work.
Nine partners helm the litigation and dispute resolution department, including noted lawyers Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri, Palecanda Chinnappa, Amit Jajoo, Mayank Mishra and Sushmita Gandhi. There are over 40 disputes-dedicated associates across the three offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
The group has experienced a surge in intellectual property litigation since the joining of partner Amit Jajoo two years ago. For example, the team successfully represented PrepLadder Private and Sorting Hat Technologies Private in an appeal filed against an order obtained by Medical Joyworks. The latter had filed a regular suit before the City Civil Court alleging copyright infringement by the clients. After the lawyers made their arguments, the counterparty ultimately withdrew its suit.
In another IP matter, the firm acted for Nexus Ventures and Nexus India Capital Advisors in their dispute with Acko General Insurance Company Private. Acko is alleging breach of intellectual property residing in its confidential copyright data and trade secrets by one of its ex-employees. The allegations against Nexus arise out of the fact that Nexus provided seed capital to the ex-employee’s start-up only on the confidence that the confidential copyright data and trade secrets of Acko would be used to achieve commercial success. Therefore, besides the ex-employee as a defendant, Acko is going after Nexus.
In a high-profile case, the firm continues to represent Lakshmi Vilas Bank in relation to a commercial suit filed by Religare for the recovery of $103 million before the High Court of Delhi which is now pending adjudication. The dispute revolves around the fraud committed by the Religare group of companies. The matter is significant as it raises various issues in law such as whether security can be evidenced by circumstances, what is the doctrine of indoor management, and implied contract and such various issues. Once a decision is announced, it will impact the way loans are sanctioned and securities are created by banks.
On the competition front, the antitrust specialists are acting for Sumitomo Chemical India Private in a writ petition before the High Court of Delhi to challenge the demand for payment of interest on penalty imposed by the competition regulator. The same team is representing Tranter in another writ petition against the Competition Commission of India (CCI) challenging the constitutional validity of one of the competition rules’ sections relating to the imposition of penalties on directors and offices of a company. The decision in this matter will hold significance as it will settle the issue of whether the CCI has the power to regulate the conduct of an advocate under the general regulations. The decision in this matter will also have bearing on several other cases of a similar nature, where penalty has been imposed on officials of an erring company.
A unique and sensational matter that has tackled never-tested areas of law has the firm remain counsel to Bollywood actress Sharmila Mandre in her defamation suit against various media houses. Its team filed a civil suit seeking inter alia injunctive reliefs restraining the media houses from publishing defamatory content, directing them to take down all defamatory material and also seeking damages. It ultimately managed to convince the court that the media published the material without properly investigating the true facts. The case involves several important questions in defamation law including an individual’s right to reputation vis-à-vis the right of media houses to freedom of speech and expression, fair comment and justification as defences to defamation, and the defence of qualified privilege in civil defamation law.
In March 2022, Mumbai litigation partner Soura Subha Ghosh and his team joined from Paras Kuhad & Associates. Partner Mohit Chadha departed in late 2021.
Key clients of the disputes group include an enviable range of domestic and international conglomerates and financial institutions such as Arvind Mills, BGR Energy Systems, Big Basket, DBS, Diageo, Finolex Cables, ICICI Bank, JM Financial, Mahindra & Mahindra, PhonePe, Tata Communications, Unacademy, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation and YES Bank.
“The lawyers deep dive into the matter and the quality of work is excellent.” – Commercial and transactions
“The partner and the associates work as a team and are always very, very well prepared. They are very familiar with the facts of the case, which makes the entire process very smooth.” – Commercial and transactions
“Its client communications and timeline adherence is impeccable.” – Insolvency
“They provide expert services for insolvency matters.” – Insolvency
“The partners are well read before every discussion, easily accessible and deliver the work on time. The firm has in-depth knowledge of the laws pertaining to the banking and financial sector in India. The lawyers are always helpful and make the clients feel at ease.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm is prompt and efficiently provided a strategy for the litigation.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm is reputed for handling all types of litigations. It has a very experienced and competent litigation team.” – Commercial and transactions
“It is well organised and responsive.” – Insolvency
“He deep dives into the matter and brings out practical solutions for resolving the matter.”
“She is very well versed with the facts of the case, accessible and well prepared.”
“Sushmita has got in-depth knowledge of commercial litigation. She is very diligent in her work and is easily accessible. She almost always delivers on the work promises on time.”
“She is very prompt and hands on.”
“She is good and very methodical, her responses are very fast, and she has excellent subject knowledge.”
“She is good at her domain subject in court litigation regarding insolvency law and recovery suits in Indian courts.”
“Lomesh is a very responsive and helpful partner in the firm.”
Intellectual property-focused firm Inttl Advocare is a well-known name among peers and clients for its heavyweight litigation practice. It is headquartered in New Delhi with a branch office in Mumbai. Eminent IP litigator Hemant Singh runs the firm and has handled more than 2,000 cases over his three decades of experience relating to all elements of IP from trademarks and patents to copyrights and industrial designs. The firm has featured in several landmark IP judgements delivered by the Indian courts.
Managing partner Singh and senior partner Mamta Rani Jha are the firm’s key intellectual property litigators.
The firm is representing Société Des Produits Nestlé, Anadolu Efes Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii Anonim Şirketi, Kia Motors and LG Electronics in their respective trademark infringement suits. Nail Alliance and Pernod Ricard India have instructed the firm for their separate trademark objection suits.
The team remains counsel for TTK Prestige in a case concerning the infringement of the client’s registered trademark and its logo, and unauthorised advertisement for sale of products bearing TTK’s trademark on an online website and mobile application. Other claims include misrepresentation, passing off, inducement to breach of contract, unfair competition and facilitating of sale of counterfeit products by the defendants on their websites. The courts laid down strict guidelines to be followed by e-commerce portals so that there is no unchecked sale of counterfeit, infringing and non-genuine sale of products. The landmark judgement underscored the protection of genuine products, particularly in online marketplaces.
In another precedent-setting matter, the partners are defending Nestlé against ITC allegations that it was passing off, under common law, the use of instant noodles sub-brand name ‘Magical Masala’. Nestlé in 2013 had launched ‘Magical Masala’ as a sub-brand for its well-known Maggi instant noodles. ITC claimed that ‘Magical Masala’ was deceptively similar to its own noodle brand, ‘Magic Masala’, and that ‘Magical Masala’ was only a slightly tweaked version of ‘Magic Masala’. The court, after going into the pleadings and evidence of the parties and the witnesses, discarded the claims of ITC and observed that as per ITC’s own documents ‘Magic Masala’ was never used as a trademark nor intended to be used so and the fact that no trademark application was filed further fortifies the same. The judgement by the single judge of the High Court of Madras clarifies the law concerning sub-brands used along with other well-known trademarks. It held that neither of the sub-brands could have acquired the distinctiveness to distinguish one product from the other based on the facts and circumstances of the present case. The court further reaffirmed this and held that even the law cannot come to the rescue of the brand owner if the mark adopted is inherently weak.
Adidas, Dabur India and Dart Industries also enlisted the firm during the research period for its contentious IP matters.
While J Sagar Associates is noted primarily for its historically top-tier regulatory and infrastructure strengths, the dispute resolution offering also excels at commercial litigation, domestic and international arbitration and white-collar crime matters. The firm has true pan-India capacity with fully fledged offices in seven key cities. The firm has dedicated practice groups for disputes in regulatory and policy practice, especially in the infrastructure sector. The dispute practitioners are experienced and thought leaders in their fields. They have acted in numerous major disputes across diverse infrastructure sectors such as ports, power, aviation, telecom, broadcasting, and oil & gas.
The 12 partner-strong disputes team at the firm has notable names such as Amar Gupta, Ananya Kumar, Amit Kapur, Dheeraj Nair and Varghese Thomas.
In one highlight, the team represented Sasan Power, an ultra-mega power project, in a petition filed before the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission seeking in principle approval for additional capital cost and operational expenditure for installing and operating an emission control system. In another noteworthy case, the firm successfully acted for thermal power generator, Adani Rajasthan in an appeal before the Supreme Court of India challenging the Appellate Tribunal’s judgement.
Chalking up more wins for the team, the JSA lawyers successfully represented Lalitpur Power Generation Company before the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), challenging Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulation Commission’s order denying change in law relief and in-principle approval for incurring capex for complying with an authority’s notification prescribing revised emission norms for thermal power plants. In another, the firm assisted Talwandi Sabo Power before APTEL challenging the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission’s order denying the incremental cost incurred by the client in procurement of imported coal on behalf of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.
Other clients include Anheuser Busch InBev India, Bajaj Energy, Coastal Gujarat Power, Emaar India, Hardy Exploration and Production, RattanIndia Power and West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.
Renowned for its banking and finance prowess, it’s no surprise that one of Jerome Merchant & Partners’ core contentious strengths is in bankruptcy matters. The team has a deep bench of expertise and experience in the country’s insolvency laws. It works with investors and lenders in restructuring of their debt exposures, enforces their rights under the IBC, advises sponsors on actions brought against them, and challenges proceedings or resolution plans which have been prejudicial to such sponsors.
The main contacts for disputes matters are contentious restructuring and insolvency specialists Murtaza Somjee, Vishnu Jerome and Rhia Marshall.
In a typical instruction for the team, it is representing the plaintiff, Deutsche Bank, in relation to defaults under a credit facility made by it to Uttam Galva, a listed Indian entity. The lawyers also represented Kirloskar Electric before the district courts in Bangalore in obtaining an interim injunction against a German official liquidator in a cross-border insolvency matter filed against the Indian company’s subsidiary in Germany.
The firm is assisting the sponsors of Videocon Group on its disputes with Dish TV and the Essel Group before the High Court of Bombay and the National Company Law Tribunal. The group’s active insolvency clients include Centrum Capital, Jet Airways, India Infoline, SSG Capital, Tata Motors and Videocon Group.
“They are excellent in all avenues of their work.” – Commercial and transactions
Krishnamurthy & Co (K Law) has an active dispute resolution practice staffed with seasoned litigators. Its intellectual property expertise is noted by the market. The team is experienced in resolving commercial, civil, criminal and constitutional law matters for clients across a myriad of sectors. Its members have advocated in various judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative forums around the country.
The key dispute contacts are partners Shujath Ahmed, Ayush Agarwala and Aditi Mittal, and senior partner Nikhil Krishnamurthy, who is an intellectual property litigation specialist.
Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries has enlisted the firm for multiple suits filed in the High Court of Bombay seeking an injunction against the release of a movie, for which the client is the distributor. The various suits filed against the movie claimed copyright infringement. To date, no adverse order has been passed for the client. The movie was released successfully, and one suit was withdrawn.
The firm is advising State Bank of India as the financial creditor in an application under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code against Soma Enterprises. The IP team is assisting Flipkart Internet Private in a John Doe suit filed against unnamed defendants for passing off, infringement of trademark and copyright.
In a significant highlight, the team continues to represent the Material Recycling Association of India in a writ petition filed in the Supreme Court seeking strict implementation of the orders and directives passed by the government for non-levy of demurrage, detention charges and other penal charges from importers across India by shipping lines and container freight stations. When the case concludes, it will have a nationwide impact on all importers in the country who have been forced to pay penal charges to shipping lines, container freight stations and inland container depots.
A sample of the firm’s key clients includes Axis Bank, Bank of India, Caterpillar India, Edelweiss, Flipkart Internet, IL&FS Engineering and Construction, L&T Finance Holdings, Mahindra & Mahindra, TTK Prestige and Xander Finance.
“The team had prompt responses and their communication is excellent. The advice very clear and practical. They are always prepared to go beyond the scope.” – Labour and employment
“Overall, a well-polished performance!”
K&S Partners is a top-tier intellectual property specialist firm that excels in handling contentious matters. Its dispute resolution practice has highly experienced litigators equipped to handle all aspects of enforcement of IP rights through civil and criminal proceedings, as well as border enforcement measures. It also boasts a niche expertise in geographical indications. Its patent litigators all have technical qualifications, providing them with an edge in complex patent cases. The firm represents both domestic and international clients across all sectors of business and has been involved in landmark, precedent-setting IP cases. Its five offices in Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad house 120 legal professionals. It boosted its teams with the hiring of four new associates. The firm is affiliated with a leading corporate law firm, J Sagar Associates, both having been founded by Jyoti Sagar.
The IP disputes team features 15 partners, including trademark experts Prashant Gupta and Ashish Marbaniang, and patent partner Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari. Firm founder and legal fraternity stalwart Jyoti Sagar still plays an active role on the team, as well as counsel and senior adviser, Rajendra Kumar.
In one highlight, the team is acting for a Chinese technology company in a suit filed by a competitor for alleged infringement of its patent that covers and claims a method for scheduling terminals in a radio communication network and corresponding base station. The lawyers are also defending a domestic electric bus manufacturer in an alleged infringement dispute, where an individual researcher claims his patent was being used for the client’s innovative and popular electric buses. The action has been filed on the basis of a non-worked patent.
An American pharmaceuticals giant has instructed the firm for its writ petition before the Delhi High Court over an order from the Delhi Patent Office granting a patent to its client for its HIV and hepatitis C drug. The K&S team has raised a challenge to the maintainability of the writ petition.
Delhi-based Karanjawala & Co is a leading exclusive boutique litigation firm based in New Delhi, where it has three offices. It was founded in 1983, now comprises nearly 100 lawyers, and has a stellar reputation in the market as a go-to for precedent-setting, landmark matters. The firm features in over 625 reported judgements of the Supreme Court and has filed and dealt with over 25,000 matters to date. Though historically the firm began its practice with a predominant Supreme Court and High Court emphasis, it now has expanded to have a presence in all the subordinate courts and tribunals in the National Capital Region and routinely handles litigations on a pan-India basis. The leadership team comprises nine partners who are all respected and seasoned litigators.
Karanjawala’s criminal practice has grown substantially in the last five years, its teams appearing in a number of high-stake and high-profile matters. Recently, the firm has also carved out a niche practice for itself in the fields of consumer protection and real estate regulatory authority litigation. The group’s practice focuses not only on general consumer litigation but also on medical negligence and real estate, with the firm representing a wide range of clients before various tribunals, ranging from the district fora to the National Commission. There is also a consumer team that has filed over 1,000 cases in the National Commission, with a high success rate. The firm’s insolvency group has extensive experience in dealing with high-profile matters while appearing for corporations and financial institutions.
Managing partner Raian Karanjawala serves as the head of the 10-partner strong disputes department. Other key figures are founding partner Manik Karanjawala, and senior partners Nandini Gore, Ruby Singh Ahuja and Sandeep Kapur.
Exemplary of the type of cases the firm is known for includes its representation of ArcelorMittal India in its bid in the insolvency resolution process of Essar Steel India. There were multiple rounds of litigation at various stages of the resolution process. The matter became more complicated given the lack of clarity on the interpretations of the provisions and the post-2016 amendments made to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). Ultimately, the Supreme Court of India laid down two landmark judgements that are now widely referred to and relied upon in cases under the IBC.
One of the most eagerly watched corporate battles in the country finally came to an end in early 2021. In it, the Karanjawala team assisted Tata Sons to victory in a dispute between the investment companies of Cyrus Mistry – the former chairman of Tata Sons – with Tata Sons and its shareholders. The dispute arises from the removal of Mistry as executive chairman of Tata Sons and subsequent removal as a director of Tata Sons and a few operating companies of Tata Sons. After various rounds of litigation, the matter was disposed by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Bombay in favour of the client. The matter lays down the foundation of the law in cases of oppression and mismanagement and the general law and procedure to be adopted by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in dealing with appeals from the NCLT.
The firm counts domestic powerhouse corporates and multinational banks and companies as loyal clients. It has recently worked with Adani Group, Ambuja Cement, Astro, Coca-Cola, Colgate, Disney Broadcasting, Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble, Star TV, Tata Steel, Twitter, Unilever, Vodafone and Wadia Group.
Dispute resolution boutique Keystone Partners is formed by a group of first-generation lawyers who specialise in commercial litigation, international arbitration, construction disputes and contentious regulatory matters. Each partner has a particular focus on different sectors, allowing the team to cover a varied suite of disputes practice areas, and one partner is an Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court. The firm also routinely handles contentious energy, technology and trade sector matters. In the past year, its instructions grew in the technology, media and telecommunications law arenaand it boasts multiple panel appointments representing the state of Karnataka in the Central Sales Tax Appellate Authority at New Delhi, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Competition Commission of India. Keystone has offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi.
Senior partner Pradeep Nayak helms a seven-partner strong disputes group that includes notable names such as Sita Kapadia, Pritha Srikumar Iyer, Arun Sri Kumar, Anupama Hebbar and Vikas Mahendra.
One high-profile highlight for the firm is defending high-net-worth individuals from regulatory, criminal and civil challenges by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to the validity of a financing transaction and related corporate structuring.The case involves analysing voluminous data and performing a detailed study of the financials and day-to-day affairs of various companies to be able to meet the contentions raised by SEBI.
In another notable matter, the team is acting for AION Investments III Private, a Mauritius-based investment entity in a proceeding concerning the Future-Reliance merger before the National Company Law Tribunal in Mumbai. The firm additionally continues to represent three aviation leasing companies in an execution petition before the High Court of Delhi against a major Indian airline for the enforcement of a foreign decree.
Another marquee case for the firm is acting in a historic proceeding before a five-judge constitutional bench with great geopolitical sensitivities relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.The international arbitration team is representing the promoters of a renewable energy company against its investors in an arbitration under the London Court of International ArbitrationIndia Rules before three London-based arbitrators.
Khaitan & Co sits atop the tables in all the core commercial and corporate areas of dispute resolution. It has won many plaudits from the market for its consistency and deep bench strength across all practice areas, from commercial and transactions, and competition to international arbitration, construction and government and regulatory. Key to the firm’s success is its expertise in different practice areas with its market-leading transactional practices supporting its advocacy and disputes lawyers, particularly in competition, tax and intellectual property.
The firm has over 30 disputes partners. Key practitioners guiding the teams across four offices in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi include leading lawyers IP specialist Ajay Bhargava, commercial litigation expert Sanjeev Kapoor, and construction specialist Sudip Mullick. Other notable mentions are commercial litigation specialist Om Prakash Agarwal, and partners Atul Shanker Mathur and Gaurav Juneja.
The team acted for Dalmia Cement before the Supreme Court and before the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and its Appellate Tribunal in relation to a dispute over illegally transferred securities. The case involves adjudication of the jurisdictional aspect of SEBI’s powers to hear adversarial claims of various parties in relation to an alleged fraud perpetrated by a depository participant, along with others that affected various parties, including the client. The case is set to produce a landmark judgement on the aspect of SEBI’s jurisdiction to hear and decide securities fraud.
The firm continues to represent Multiplex Association of India to file a special leave petition challenging a high court order that allowed patrons to carry outside food and beverages inside multiplexes. This matter and its outcome would be significant as it will have a larger impact on the dynamics and revenue model of the multiplex industry which has food and beverages as a major contributor towards its revenue. It will also impact the right to regulate the use of private premises by the owner, but which premises are used by the general public.
On the tax front, the firm is featuring in one of the largest transfer pricing disputes in the country. It represented a Fortune 500 consumer goods multinational in its high stakes transfer pricing controversy with the Indian income tax authorities. The matter involves several facets like tax, exchange control, economic laws, balancing multi-jurisdictional aspects and navigating through several complexities.
Aditya Birla Group, Bennett Coleman & Company, Blue Dart, Cosmo Foods, Fidelity International, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Sapphire Foods India, Reliance and Standard Chartered all recently instructed the firm on contentious matters.
“In addition to knowledge of the law, the lawyers have excellent client care skills and commercial acumen.” – Commercial and transactions
“It has got good research and support for submissions.” – Commercial and transactions
“It efficiently handles legal issues and represents us well in court.” – Competition and antitrust
“We like its strategy, senior counsel management and partner attention.” – Government and regulatory
“He is the partner that we use most often. He is phenomenal in his understanding of complex Indian laws and their application to international disputes.”
“He articulates very well, and the drafting and submissions reflect that.”
“He knows the Indian market inside out and is extremely well=connected internationally. A great lawyer with a truly global perspective.”
“We appreciate his depth of knowledge on litigation. He is practical and gives us efficient advice.”
“She is proactive and a great, thorough partner.”
Kochhar & Co provides the full suite of dispute resolution services and boasts having one of the largest litigation practices in the country with 60 dedicated litigators. The pan-India litigation practice, with accomplished teams in Delhi, Gurgaon, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad[WC(1] and Mumbai, handles more than 300 cases annually. It recently established its seventh domestic office, in Chandigarh, and expanded its footprint in the US with the opening of an office in Chicago. The group’s mainstay is corporate and commercial litigation, with notable expertise in more specialist areas such as white-collar crime and intellectual property. The Kochhar lawyers often work in tandem on criminal cases and parallel civil proceedings. The firm’s litigators regularly argue cases themselves before courts and arbitral tribunals rather than instructing senior counsel in most matters. The firm has recently seen an uptick in debt restructuring litigation, and joint venture and shareholders disputes between foreign corporations and their Indian partners.
The robust dispute resolution team is led by chairman and managing partner Rohit Kochhar, and includes senior partners Krishna Vijay Singh, Dhruv Wahi, Nishant Menon and Chandrasekhar Tampi.
Showcasing the firm’s expertise in effectively handling intensive cross-border commercial litigation with both civil and criminal law elements, the firm continues to act for an Italian multinational pharmaceutical company called Actial Farmaceutica, and its Indian subsidiary CD Pharma India. The matter is a highly complex international fraud case involving legal rights to a probiotic bacterial product. The dispute arose after a former executive of the client, who controlled the Indian arm of the business, illegally siphoned off huge sums of monies from the Indian subsidiaries to his own companies. The matter is critical as it involves contesting claims regarding probiotic formulation sold around the world.
The team is also busy defending Wells Fargo, the negotiating bank, in respect of two separate proceedings that were initiated by an importer in India. The latter is seeking stay on release of payments under various letters of credit to a South Korean exporter and seller on account of alleged termination of contract due to force majeure, including seeking orders restraining the importer’s bank from reimbursing Wells Fargo.
On the regulatory front, the team is representing the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India in a tariff appeal referred by Mumbai International Airport Private before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal. The case is significant as it involves determination and adjudication of complex regulatory and sectoral issues, including methodology of calculating depreciation, computation of carrying cost and projected revenues, viability gap funding proposals, operating and capital expenditure structuring, and asset base valuations, amongst others.
CMA CGM, a French container shipping company, has instructed the firm in a major litigation matter that arose out of a deadly ship collision off the coast of India. Twelve out of 14 fishermen on board an Indian fishing vessel were declared dead or missing after the ship collided with a Singapore flag vessel on the west coast of India close to Mangalore. The client had chartered the Singapore vessel. The Kochhar team is handling all aspects of the collision including criminal matters, writ petitions and working out a settlement with the fishing boat owner, surviving fishermen and the families of the deceased.
The tax and customs team is working for Chinese exporter, Granges Aluminium on its interest in the anti-dumping investigations before the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) concerning imports of flat-rolled products of aluminium originating or exported from China. The DGTR has initiated an investigation to assess whether anti-dumping duties are liable to be imposed on certain aluminium products. Partner Reena Khair represented the client in oral hearings held before the authority and ultimately its client was accorded ‘nil’ duty in the final findings.
In a high-profile, sensitive international arbitration highlight, the firm remains active for the CRSC Research & Design Institute Group (CRSC), a subsidiary of a state-owned Chinese giant, against the government-counselled Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL). Following a border clash between Indian and Chinese armed forces in the Himalayas in June 2020, in a well-publicised move, the Indian railway ostensibly terminated the contract for the development of a section of dedicated freight corridor project that had been awarded to CRSC. Employer DFCCIL further sought to invoke the performance bank guarantee and advance bank guarantee. The matter is significant as it involves arbitration proceedings in Singapore and Dubai under ICC[WC(2] rules, and it has spawned other legal clashes with hundreds of sub-contractors and suppliers. The dispute is at its initial stages.
Last year the firm welcomed partner and aviation specialist Sheetal Sabnis, who joined from an in-house role at Go-Air. The white-collar crime team was bolstered by the recent hirings of senior advisor Rajinder Singh, a former IPS officer, and partner Joban Singh, who joins from his own private practice.
The disputes department enjoyed a tide of new client wins last year, including Assam Bombay Carrier Private, Avnet Tech Solution, BellGeo, CMA CGM, Colop, Cushman & Wakefield India, ERA Constructions, Euroasian Chemicals, Fujifilm, Jubilant Ingrevia, Jindal Poly Films, Kanematsu Corporation, Omega Icehill, Panasonic Corporation , Nevinnomyssky Azot, Pharmaceutical Research Associates, SI Group India, Softlink Global Private, Standard Casting, Texcel Engineers and VFS Global.
In the past year, the firm has worked with a slew of top-tier intellectual property clients such as Ascendas, ASUS, Blackberry, Caterpillar, Ciena Corporation, Emirates Airlines, Koch Industries, Lockheed Martin, National Presto, Nissan Motors and Wells Fargo Bank.
“Impeccable attention to customer service.” – Commercial and transactions
“Overall management of the matter was well done, well-organised working style and they concluded the matter quite expeditiously!” – Shipping
“The lawyers explained the process of ADD procedures in a professional and in a clear way. They also replied to various queries from authorities in a highly professional way.” – Trade and customs
“Provided excellent advisory in order to follow the customs-related regulation.” – Trade and customs
“In every single aspect, from start to the finish of our case, her communication, coordination, representation, depth of knowledge and time management were great. Impressive set of skills!”
“Reena is highly professional and carries an in-depth knowledge of customs and tax-related law and industry.”
“Being the senior partner, Rohit is good at handling clients and answering our questions patiently and solving problems and providing solutions. Rohit is also good at engaging his associates to take over different aspects of the work depending on their skills and strengths. Rohit is also mostly always available to attend to calls to discuss matters with the clients.”
Lall & Sethi is a respected intellectual property boutique, noted in the market for its trademark litigation prowess. It handles all contentious matters related to IP laws, from trademarks, copyright and design to patents, trade secrets and information technology. All litigation, including drafting and court appearances, is handled by in-house experienced litigators. The firm has featured in several ground-breaking and landmark IP decisions over the years.
The main contacts for contentious IP matters are managing partner and patents head, Anju Khanna, and partners Raghav Malik, Tia Malik and Jyotideep Kaur. The latter three are trademarks and copyright specialists.
In one disclosable highlight, the team represented DSM Pharmaceuticals Netherlands in an infringement suit against Sinopharm Weiqida Pharmaceutical. The dispute centres on the plaintiff’s process patent relating to amoxycillin trihydrate. In the latest twist, after Sinopharm continued to infringe on the patent despite an injunction order being placed, a single judge found it in contempt of the injunction order and restrained them from importing the infringing product into India.
The team successfully acted for plaintiff Six Continents Hotels on its trademark infringement suit against Holiday Inn Beach Resort. The defendant had adopted the client’s well-known trademark and used it as part of its domain name. The court granted an ad-interim ex parte injunction in the matter, which restrained the defendants from using the impugned marks in any manner possible including the impugned domain names.
Notable clients of the firm include Aero Club, Elementia Wellness, FMC Corporation and YKK Corporation.
Legacy Law Offices has a disputes practice focused on construction and infrastructure-related litigation and arbitration. It also has an active contentious labour practice. Its partners are leading counsels for construction arbitrations and have advocated in several landmark matters in this space. Managing partner Gagan Anand is a highly sought-after arbitration counsel. The firm boasts some impressive statistics with regards to construction project disputes. It also has a high success rate in obtaining stay orders against contract terminations, encashments of bank guarantees and debarring from arbitral tribunals, from courts and also in writ jurisdiction. The law firm has offices in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Panchkula, Solan and Kurukshetra, an associate office in Mumbai in India, and representative offices in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UK and USA.
The core leaders are Anand, senior partner Sadiqua Fatma and partner Parveen Moudgil.
A marquee matter for the team was its representation of Intercontinental Consultants & Technocrats in a writ petition before the High Court of Delhi, where it secured a favourable order in the Zojila tunnel project. The case involved a suspension order issued by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation against the joint venture petitioner in the Zojila tunnel pass construction project. The contract is the largest project management consultancy contract in the history of the country’s construction sector.
Client Construction Technique, a company specialising in heritage restoration and preservation, has instructed the firm for its dispute resolution proceedings in relation to various contracts pertaining to the conservation and adaptive use of historical Gobindgarh Fort, Amritsar which is an Asian Development Bank funded project.
The team continues to counsel Mumbai Nashik Expressway as the concessionaire in respect of the prominent Mumbai to Nashik Expressway before the arbitral tribunal for pursuing its arbitral claims worth $59 million. The team was able to obtain an arbitration award in favour of its client and against the concessioning authority.
Litigation partner Satyendra Kumar joined the firm last autumn.
The firm has recently been awarded empanelment from various organisations, including the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium, Telecommunications Consultants India, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, Bharat Sanchar Nigam and National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India.
Some of the firm’s clients include Ceigall India, Centrodorstroy, Creative Group, Dhule-Palesnar Tollway, GKC Projects, HG Infra Engineering, Kashipur Sitarganj Highways, KPH Dream Cricket, MG Contractors and Rajdeep Buildcon.
“The firm’s partners are very attentive and listen to the concerns, study the documentation thoroughly and give sound professional advice. The firm has an exceptional set of lawyers whose advice is based on what is beneficial for the client and not just necessarily one that would help them rake up billing hours. A rarity, I believe!” – Commercial and transactions
“Legacy Law Offices has a highly skilled and sophisticated team which stands out for its commitment to quality legal work. The quality of the work, the clarity in getting the strategy right, adhering to strict timelines, rendering time-to-time legal opinions and advising the client clearly on where they stand are some of the admirable points about the lawyers.” – Construction
“The lawyers epitomise the concept of collaboration and teamwork. The collaborative approach adopted by the lawyers of the firm while dealing with clients in relation to arbitration cases enables them to develop a deep understanding of the construction claims requiring adjudication in arbitration proceedings and formulating the most effective dispute resolution strategy, which yields good results for clients.” – Construction
“I found everyone at Legacy Law Offices to be completely professional and compassionate. They have a dedicated, highly experienced team drawing upon the strengths in various related practice areas and are able to respond quickly, while providing focused advice and representation.” – Construction
“Legacy Law Offices has been delivering quality work through its ability in getting the strategy right, managing multiple disputes arising out of a particular case, compiling to strict deadlines and providing expert advice to the client. They are a very polite, quick and client-friendly law firm and have a professional approach towards work.” – Construction
“The firm and the lawyers of the firm are very eloquent and are always able to provide us with satisfaction. Legacy Law lawyers clearly put their client first, they are very, very considerate and adjust to our wants accordingly.” – Construction
“The law firm has highly qualified lawyers possessing rich experience in handling litigation and arbitration cases involving complex issues and high financial stakes.” – Labour and employment
“Legacy Law Offices is very good in dealing with cases related to both litigation and arbitration. The entire firm is professional and knowledgeable.” – Labour and employment
“Legacy Law Offices has a strong command of and an outstanding track record in handling arbitration cases. The firm has high energy with creativity and strategic focus.” – Labour and employment
“Legacy Law Offices keeps the whole case in view and always provides great results. The lawyers work with complete integrity and really make us feel like part of the same team. They work collaboratively and try to maximise efficiencies such that they provide good value.” – Labour and employment
“He gives well thought out advice.”
“Mr Gagan Anand is a commendable lawyer. His overall understanding of legal aspects, especially in regard to construction projects, is noteworthy. Our team was extremely contented with his legal expertise.”
“Our main contact lawyer was Gagan Anand. He possesses the right kind of calibre, expertise and competence required to tackle any legal predicament. We were also closely in touch with Sadiqua Fatma and she would ensure we got regular updates regarding our ongoing cases. It is always a pleasure to work with Legacy Law Offices, especially with their reasonable prices and quality work.”
“Gagan Anand has vast experience in handling litigation and arbitration cases. Along with this, he is also a proficient legal expert in this field.”
“Gagan Anand was compassionate, patient, helpful and transparent throughout the entire process. He deals with all the cases promptly and without any delay.”
“Sadiqua Fatma always puts her clients first and offers practical solutions with remarkable expertise and professionalism. She is responsive, creative, technically astute, and clear in all her communications.”
“She is a seasoned professional who takes pains to understand a matter and then give sound professional advice. Her drafting skills are great and she is always approachable and an amenable person to work with.”
“One of the lawyers we would like to mention would be Sadiqua Fatma. She displays unparalleled ability to put complex legal propositions simply and succinctly, and most importantly has a good grasp of the matter. Her excellent success record in conflict resolution processes before various tribunals and courts has been ascribed to her.”
“She is a highly qualified lawyer. She possesses rich experience in the legal industry. She is personally focused on executing a variety of projects along with her team which has been consistent and dedicated even in the current situation..”
“Sadiqua is an excellent legal expert to deal with. She always understands our needs and requirements. When she represents the case, she obtains favourable results.”
“She always takes personal interest in arbitration and court cases of our company. Her legal strategy for dispute resolution has benefited us a lot.”
Link Legal India Law Services has a broad disputes practice covering a wide range of sectors including aviation, banking and financial services, construction and energy. It has a respected reputation in the market as a leading construction, energy, projects and infrastructure player, as well as having strong aviation and power sector expertise. The team has been very active the past year, and a specialised arbitration group was created with work in this sphere on the upswing.
Co-managing partners Atul Sharma and Nusrat Hassan lead a team of 15 partners that run the dispute resolution group. Other partners include Milanka Chaudhury, Ravi Varma, Abhishek Sharma, Sanjay Gupta, Sidhartha Srivastava, Prasad Dhande, P Ravi Charan, Bhalchandra Palav and Abhinav Agnihotri.
In a high-profile public interest litigation, the firm represented SpiceJet before the Supreme Court. The question that was involved in this petition and other connected petitions was whether airlines are obligated to provide full refunds to passengers who had booked air tickets but could not undertake air travel due to cancellation of their flights on account of the lockdown. In another aviation matter, the team is acting for Delhi International Airport Limited in a writ petition filed against Union of India, Delhi Cantonment Board and others, wherein the client has challenged the constitutional validity of a section of the Cantonments Act while also seeking directions of the court for declaring that the land forming part of the IGI Airport is not a ‘cantonment’ within the meaning of another section of the Cantonments Act.
The firm has been instructed by India Infrastructure Finance Company and IFCI for representation before the Supreme Court. The clients have challenged the judgement of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal where the Appellate Tribunal, while adjudicating on the alleged mismanagement of IL&FS, adopted a procedure where a Resolution Framework was approved with respect to IL&FS and its group companies.
In an antitrust matter, the Links lawyers are representing Chinese railway track maintenance machinery maker, CRCC High-Tech Equipment Corporation in an appeal before the Competition Appellate Tribunal in a dispute with an Indian company, Plasser India. The appeal arises out of an order issued by the Competition Commission of India where the regulator did not find a prima facie case for directing an investigation into the matter.
Key clients of the firm are Axiom Cordages, Drake & Scull Water and Energy India, Indus Towers, Ramky Infrastructure, Spicejet and Vestige Marketing.
“The lawyers did a very good job. They clarified any doubts we had.” – Commercial and transactions
“Firm is super-responsive and precise. The lawyers give very smart solutions to problems.” – Commercial and transactions
“We appreciate his perspective, assessment and solution.”
“He manages the team and the work very efficiently. He is always close to the clients.”
“Excellent support and guidance.”
Up-and-coming firm Literati Jurist has a full-fledged dispute resolution offering that spans criminal and commercial litigation to alternative dispute resolution. It is particularly strong in contentious IP and a burgeoning focus in the technology, media and telecommunications and fintech spaces. The team comprises lawyers, patent agents, investigators, data analysts and forensic experts.
Partners Rahul Dhote and Ragini Shah are the main contacts for disputes.
One highlight saw the team represent Bhansali Productions against Eros International Media in an arbitration. In another, the team acted for RPG Life Sciences against Ferring in an IP-related tussle. Young India Impex has also instructed the team for its trademark infringement suit against Supreme Industries.
Recent clients that engaged the firm include Amazon India, Asian Chem Works, Hercules Hoists and Tender Skin Products.
The Majmudar & Partners dispute resolution practice has a 75-year heritage that is well regarded in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court of Delhi. The firm prioritises quality over quantity, and regularly engages in novel, complex disputes matters. It specialises in litigation strategy for civil and criminal actions across the country, injunctive actions, banking disputes, ad hoc and institutional domestic and international arbitrations, intellectual property suits, testamentary matters, debt recovery, commercial claims and breach of contract disputes. In the wake of the pandemic, the team has experienced an uptick in commercial litigation, debt recoveries, breach of contract disputes and insolvency-related court work.
The key dispute resolution contacts are partner Neerav Merchant, senior partner AK Hirani and of counsel Fraser Alexander.
In a recently highlight, the firm acted for Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti – CMC di Ravenna in a joint venture dispute with Gammon India. It is also assisting The Solution House UK on recoveries from an Indian entity in relation to the supply of defective goods.
The firm continues to represent Axis Bank in execution proceedings against the owner of the premises. The client is seeking enforcement of the decree in its favour for the retrieval of the security deposit paid under leave and license agreements. What is interesting is that the premises owner had also mortgaged the premises in favour of a public sector bank loan. This bank was attempting to take forceful possession of the premises under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act. This is a significant matter because it raises an issue on the priority of payments among banks, especially when the same security has been given to two banks.
The firm won CMS (UAE), KitelyTech and Rabigh Refining & Petrochemical Company as new clients last year. Access Bank, Arneg India, Corob India and Powerbank Industries engaged the firm in the last 12 months.
“Majmudar & Partners’ lawyers acted very well and they have drafted our legal papers in a very detailed manner. All aspects were taken care of before we filed the case.” – Commercial and transactions
“He is highly talented and professional.”
Manuskhlal Hiralal & Company has a long history stretching back to 1910 and has a disputes practice with a deep bench of experience. It focuses on arbitration and mediation, civil litigation and works on contentious matters spanning insolvency, real estate, tax, intellectual property rights, banking and employment. The firm comprises 25 fee earners and has offices in Mumbai and Delhi.
Managing partner Rajendra Shah and senior partner Niranjan Parekh lead the team of disputes-focused senior lawyers that include Bhushan Shah, Purvi Asher and Chirag Shah.
The team is representing Mitsubishi HC Capital Asia Pacific in initiating insolvency proceedings against Bilcare Singapore. The client had provided Bilcare with funds to purchase a piece of machinery to be used at their Pune Factory. The borrower then defaulted in repaying the client their installments.If the National Company Law Tribunal allows Mitsubishi Capital’s application, it will be a landmark judgement under the operational creditor category. In a similar instruction, the team is acting for IL&FS Financial Services for recovery of a loan and the interest from the Kohinoor Group and its promoters.
Another marquee matter has the firm acting for the Securities and Exchange Board of India against Aakruti Nirmiti before the Securities Appellate Tribunal. As this matter is a significant deemed public issue matter, it is likely to be a landmark decision.The company had issued and allotted equity shares in 2008 and raised funds without complying with the provisions of the Companies Act.
In real estate, the team is assisting Coliseum Co-operative Premises Society in filing a suit against the developer before the Bombay High Court. The matter relates toa plot of land that was used for construction of the society’s building and the adjacent plot was not given to the client but was instead transferred to a third party and used to sell parking spaces.This would be a landmark case as it would settle the position of law as to whether the land plot has to be conveyed to the society or not.
On the white-collar crime front, the lawyers have been busy representing NSEL Investors Action Group in the Supreme Court in litigation related to the National Spot Exchange Limited scam.This scam has affected the livelihood of nearly 13,000 investors and is one of the biggest scams that has been discovered in Indian history. This case will be a landmark judgement under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act.
Last year, the firm welcomed tax litigator Nehal Parekh from Economics Law Practice and dispute resolution of counsel Parimal Prasad from L&T Financial Services.
Key clients include HRIM Finance, Kyrus Industries, R-Tech Products and Packaging, and Travel Blue.
“Gives appropriate legal advice, and has regular follow-ups and updates.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm does well for civil litigation and corporate transactions.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm is good at drafting suit proceedings and crystallising the issues. The partner and associate we engaged were on top of the matter and know their law and facts on the matter.” – Commercial and transactions
“Mansukhlal is very good with its dispute resolution practice. The firm has been there for more than 100 years and the partners have sizeable experience on all civil side of laws.” – Commercial and transactions
“They are very prompt, reasonably priced, experts in commercial and real estate matters and their delivery is always on time.” – Commercial and transactions
“Their drafting is good, contains the complete thought process.” – Commercial and transactions
“Highly professional approach and commercial orientation balanced with strong risk mitigation mindset.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm has a good team and the lawyers understand the subjects well. Great follow-up and good knowledge base.” – Commercial and transactions
“Bhushan is hands-on for all his matters. I am very impressed with his turnaround time and solution-driven approach.”
“Bhushan is a good lawyer and easy to approach. He understands our business and is able to give rational, timely advice.”
“Bhushan is very impressive and good at his work. We love him.”
“Bhushan is prompt and responsive.”
“He manages the cases very well and is able to provide effective solutions even to at times tricky situations.”
“He has very good legal knowledge, creative solutions and works very hard to meet the deadlines.”
“He’s got a balanced commercial and risk mindset combined with deep legal expertise.”
“Bhushan is gifted. Some people are made for the profession and Bhushan falls into that category.”
“He is extremely proactive and knowledgeable.”
“He is very professional and learned.”
Mason & Associates is a specialist intellectual property boutique. Focused on handling all matters of IP, the firm has carved out strengths in contentious IP matters, litigation strategy, anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy enforcement, patent litigation and competition matters. It has a market-recognised specialty in copyright matters. Recent developments include the lateral hire of patent specialist and senior associate Sneha Sharma from Saikrishna & Associates, the opening of its Hyderabad office, and the appointment of managing partner Neel Mason as vice president of the India Group of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
Intellectual property specialist Mason is the main contact at the firm for disputes work.
The team acted for Super Cassettes Industries (T-Series) in proceedings before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board concerning fixed royalty rates. This case examined, for the first time, a section of the Copyright Act for the broadcasting of a sound recording and underlying literary and musical works over radio. The lawyers helped present at the proceedings and made a submission in regards to which model to be followed for fixation of rate as well as legal submissions regarding the need for rates to be fixed for underlying works as well when a sound recording is broadcast over radio.
Google has instructed the team for a trademark infringement suit. The case examines whether providing the trademark of an owner as a keyword to a third party shall amount to trademark infringement. The team argued for its client’s Google Ads program and how the usage of third-party trademark as keywords in Google Ads does not amount to trademark infringement.
The firm acted for Snapdeal in an IP rights violation matter on Twitter[WC(1] . The court held that the violated content being made available on Twitter was using Snapdeal trademarks and copyright alongside third-party phone numbers and contact details.
Amar Biotech, Eros International and Everest Industries also engaged the firm last year in contentious matters.
MSA Partners has a focused dispute resolution team that is noted for commercial litigation and arbitration in the electricity, telecoms, natural resources and infrastructure sectors. Apart from these specialisms, the team also actively represents and advises clients across a broad range of civil, commercial, regulatory, corporate, intellectual property rights, and other issues. The lawyers regularly appear before the Supreme Court, various High Courts, electricity regulatory commissions and the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), the National Company Law Tribunal and Appellate Tribunal, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board, and other quasi-judicial tribunals and appellate tribunals.
Partners Anand Ganesan and Swapna Seshadri are the key contacts for disputes. They both specialise in contentious energy, commercial and government and regulatory matters.
One highlight saw the firm acting for Sai Wardha Power Generation against the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission in appeals filed before APTEL. The outcome of the matter would have far-reaching consequences, as the interpretation of a rule of the electricity regulations is an issue being adjudicated upon. Before the same tribunal, the team is assisting Kamal Encon Industries in an appeal regarding right to inter-state supply without there being a separate feeder to identify the power generation.
Charotar Gas Sahakari Mandali, DNH Power Distribution,KSK Mahanadi Power Company andMahindra & Mahindra also engaged the firm last year.
MZM Legal is famed for its white-collar crime prowess and having a seasoned litigation team that covers a wide suite of practice areas. In the Indian context, MZM is a distinctive firm as it provides both advisory and litigation services and gives expert assistance to clients in government and prosecutorial investigations. Its white-collar crime department offers solutions ranging from preventive compliance, defence and strategy, to prosecution. Apart from criminal litigation, the lawyers have a long, successful track record of handling complex, high-value and sensitive international commercial arbitrations, investor-state and ad hoc arbitrations, and international commercial disputes in various institutional forums. In terms of sectors the team covers, they include aviation, construction, energy, media and communications, banking, insurance, international trade and investments, international finance, intellectual property, maritime, and technology and telecommunications.
Managing partner Zulfiquar Memon and senior partner Waseem Pangarkar are the key contacts.
In one high-profile matter, the team is defending Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty in legal proceedings emanating from what has been called one of the biggest financial frauds of the 21st century. Summarily, it involves fraud perpetrated by senior management of the companies promoted by the client. The fraud embroiled Shetty, who is facing legal proceedings across the globe, starting from class action suits in the US, to regulatory proceedings in the UK to recovery proceedings in UAE and India.
Additionally, the firm is representing the promoters of Housing Development and Infrastructure in a high-profile criminal investigation by the elite Economic Offences Wing, Mumbai in relation to allegations of financial fraud and embezzlement arising out of their and the group’s alleged outstanding[WC(1] debt with PMC Bank. The alleged irregularities have led PMC Bank to be placed under the control of a Reserve Bank of India administrator with a consequent moratorium on withdrawal and banking operations. The matter has been the subject of significant national attention.
In one international arbitration case, the firm is acting for Karamtara Engineering under the Centre for Arbitration and Mediation Santiago rules for international arbitration. The client has filed against a respondent company involved in handling electricity transmission line projects based out of Chile and is a special purpose vehicle formed under the aegis of two of the most reputed companies in Chile in the electricity and power sector.
The team welcomed new partner Mohammad Shine, an experienced litigation lawyer with over 16 years under his belt handling criminal and civil litigation. Previously he had his own independent practice.
Notable recent clients include Bennett Coleman Company, Essar Shipping, National Spot Exchange, OGD Services and Tata Power.
“The firm is able to present its case for its clients well and prepare all pleadings.” – Shipping
“The lawyers provided very bespoke and on-point advice after truly understanding our commercial needs and using a deep understanding of the Indian legal landscape in this area.” – White-collar crime
“They are responsive, team players, communicative and knowledgeable.” – White-collar crime
“The team’s planning, strategy and advice are excellent. Their court preparation is thorough and meticulous, leaving no stone unturned. They’re excellent all round and have amazing response times regardless of time zones.” – White-collar crime
“His out-of-the-box thinking is commendable. He is a good draftsman and can present the case well.”
“Excellent strategist. His knowledge of law is encyclopaedic!”
“Great client skills and a real problem solver.”
Naik Naik & Co is a full-service firm with an experienced litigation and arbitration department. While the firm is best known in the market as a pre-eminent firm for media and entertainment matters, its industry expertise does also include financial services and oil and gas. The firm’s disputes offering is expansive and covers everything from commercial disputes, corporate litigation, white-collar crime, frauds and scams, cybercrimes, consumer protections disputes, debt recovery matters, and domestic and international arbitrations.
Managing partner Ameet Naik is the key contact for disputes work.
One highlight has the firm representing and advising Future Retail in its disputes with Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings, across multiple forums such as Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Delhi High Court, the Supreme Court of India and the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), inter alia arising out of the scheme of arrangement to be entered into between the various entities of the Future Group and the Reliance Group.
Naik is leading a team for Essar Global Fund in various proceedings arising out of its disputes with the Arcelor Mittal Group, across multiple jurisdictions such as the UK, Mauritius and Cayman Islands.
The firm continues to represent Percept D’Mark Gulf and Percept Holdings in an arbitration matter after it filed claims against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), relating to a tri-series cricket tournament between India, Australia and the West Indies. The dispute hinges on the clients’ inability to obtain insurance for the tournament, even though the BCCI had promised to assist in securing insurance. Some of the tournament matches were washed out due to rains and the client suffered substantial losses. Owing to the BCCI’s breach in assisting the claimant to procure insurance and the losses caused to the client, it withheld portions of the sponsorship fees. After the Percept group entities invoked arbitration, the BCCI filed a counterclaim.
Financial creditor IDFC First Bank has instructed the firm to assist in the filing of a miscellaneous application seeking the implementation and compliance of the resolution plan which was approved by the adjudicating authority but was not implemented by the resolution applicant before the NCLT in Mumbai.
In another arbitration case, the team acted for Adlabs Entertainment concerning its purchase of vast portions of land in Navi Mumbai, over which Adlabs has built its amusement park, Adlabs Imagica. An individual has since raised claims that prior to Adlabs purchasing the said land, he had agreed in purchasing the same lands. He alleges that Adlabs was aware of his agreement and yet it decided to purchase the said lands. This matter is important, as during the pendency of the arbitration, Adlabs is undergoing a restructuring where it has decided to sell portions of the land under dispute and five-star Hotel Novotel, which is situated next to the amusement park Adlabs Imagicaa.
Recent disputes clients included Aashit Realtors, Anand Rathi Wealth, One Point One Solutions, Pooja Entertainment, Super Cassettes Industries and Viacom 18 Media.
Leading firm Nishith Desai Associates offers a full range of dispute resolution services. The firm has a distinct international flavour, with ample dispute-related experience for clients from around the globe. Its government and regulatory litigation, tax litigation and international arbitration practices rank among the best in the market, and the firm has an enviable roster of technology, media and telecoms clients. The firm has a specialist international dispute resolution and investigations team, as well as a bilateral treaty investment arbitration team. Its new sub-practice groups for construction litigation and white-collar crimes and investigations had a busy past year. As cryptocurrency and blockchain technology matters gain prominence, the Nishith Desai lawyers have advised multiple clients on related contentious issues. The members of the international disputes team are spread across Mumbai, New Delhi and Singapore. The firm has been present in Singapore for over a decade and was the first Indian registered foreign law firm there.
Three senior leaders helm the disputes groups: Vyapak Desai chairs the international litigation and dispute resolution group, with Sahil Kanuga as the co-head. Partner Moazzam Khan is the head of global litigation.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) engaged the firm in a high-profile case against the Reserve Bank of India before the Supreme Court. The resulting judgement is a landmark one, possibly the first comprehensive one globally by an apex court on crypto-assets. The Supreme Court quashed the contested RBI circular that prohibited regulated entities from dealing in virtual currencies, holding that it was unconstitutional. The judgement in this case opens the door for millions of Indians to invest, buy and sell crypto-assets via bank accounts and allowing cryptocurrency exchanges to use banking facilities. This is also one of the few cases where a Reserve Bank of India circular has been set aside by the Supreme Court.
The firm was instructed by Aniket SA Investments, an international real estate foreign investor, against its Indian joint venture partner before the Supreme Court. Domain registrar Go Daddy is using the team in more than 80 contentious matters across India.
In a bitcoin-related case, the firm is representing the founders of Unocoin Technologies Private in filing a petition before a High Court seeking to quash criminal proceedings relating to the installation of a Bitcoin kiosk. The company installed a crypto-asset kiosk in Bengaluru, India which was to act as a vending machine for crypto-assets. However, owing to the lack of a regulatory regime over such an activity, a section of the media and the police proceeded on the basis that the activity was illegal, and the police initiated criminal proceedings against the founder-directors. This is the first and only case relating to the legality of a Bitcoin kiosk in India. Along with the IAMAI case mentioned above, it is only the second High Court or Supreme Court case dealing with crypto-assets in India.
In another highlight, the team remains active for the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (FFIC) in its enforcement proceedings in India. The lawyers created a unique strategy for recovery of the amounts loaned. Instead of directly approaching Indian courts for insolvency proceedings or enforcing the security in India, it advised on the initiation of arbitration in Finland and simultaneously sought protection against the alienation of assets in India. Ultimately, the court passed a favourable order for FFIC and allowed enforcement of the arbitral award, which would be followed by execution proceedings under Indian law.
The team acted for Nabors Drilling International, one of the world’s largest drilling rig fleets, against an Indian government entity in arbitration proceedings. The client had entered into a contract to perform platform drilling rig services with a public sector undertaking (PSU). However, the PSU failed to make a payment against six invoices raised by Nabors pursuant to the terms of the contract and agreement between the parties. The Nishith Desai team, on behalf of the client, has issued a notice of arbitration against the PSU for the outstanding amounts.
Disputes specialist Payel Chatterjee left the firm last summer for an in-house gig at Adani Enterprise.
Clients that engaged the firm in the past 12 months include Align Technology, Aniket Investments, Euroschool Education Trust, Federation of India Airlines, Infosys, Interglobe Aviation, Maynards Europe, SWAMIH Investment Fund and Swan LNG.
“Nishith Desai Associates has mastery in all laws and geographies, as the partners and associates are like encyclopaedias in their knowledge.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm has a complete and clear technical understanding of our business and this helps when they represent us in all our litigation cases.” – Commercial and transactions
“They’re great at just about everything, including understanding the company's business and objectives, communicating the status of the litigation, and crafting litigation strategy.” – Intellectual property
“The partner we worked with took great efforts to understand the nature of business activities which included complex technical areas. The speed of delivery and level of engagement were exceptional.” – White-collar crime
“Gowree has been helming all our litigation matters and has made it very easy for us to communicate our position in each case.”
One-year-old firm Numen Law Offices focuses on corporate advisory, dispute resolution and criminal litigation at present. The firm handles all contentious matters relating to commercial disputes at all levels of court and has a dedicated arbitration team. For criminal matters, it offers prompt representation in relation to the full spectrum of criminal conduct from road traffic offences to murder to money laundering. Expertise includes defending and initiating criminal proceedings, white-collar crimes, economic offences, cybercrime and data theft, drug-related offences, sexual offences and harassment, serious fraud investigation and organised crime. Its clients span individuals to Fortune 100 companies.
The four key disputes partners are Arush Khanna, George Thomas, Chaitanyaa Bhandarkar, and white-collar crime specialist Lakshmi Raman.
One highlight saw the firm defend Bistro Hospitality Private in a civil suit for damages relating to a road accident which involved a TGI Fridays vehicle. Archana Shopping Arcade Society has instructed the firm for its writ petition to cancel the liquor licence of one of the individual respondents who were illegally operating a wine and liquor store out of the client’s complex in New Delhi.
In a case pending before the Supreme Court, Thomas has been engaged as counsel representing Peace Party of India in a petition seeking directions from the highest court to ensure that sections of the media do not publish unverified reports, especially with regard to the Muslim community. In real estate, the team represented Ansal Properties and Infrastructure in an appeal against an order passed by the Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority revoking the registration of their projects in Lucknow.
Lenovo India sought the firm for its defence in a suit against Global Infonet Distribution for recovery and damages. The novel aspect was that in this matter, the High Court of Delhi held that disputes arising out of separate agreements having distinct arbitration clauses can be referred to a joint arbitration under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (ACA) if the agreements form a composite transaction. So, this matter sets the precedent on the jurisprudence of Section 8 of the ACA.
Other recent disputes clients were Lotus Green Developers and Nischint Traders.
While best known for its intellectual property, technology[WC(1] and media practices, the litigation team at Obhan & Associates is also adept at handling complex commercial disputes. It has represented clients on a range of disputes relating to equity and debt investment, corporate laws, intellectual property laws, employment laws, competition laws and on bi-lateral investment treaty disputes. The lawyers also provide key pre-litigation strategies to clients in industries such as media, entertainment, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, franchising, machinery and equipment manufacturing, outsourcing and financial services. The firm has offices in New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore.
Key contacts for contentious matters are managing partner Essenese Obhan and partner Ashima Obhan.
The firm continues to defend domestic merchant platform unicorn Pine Labs against Innoviti Payment Solutions (IPS) before the High Court of Karnataka. IPS has sued its client for allegedly using its patented technology related to unified payment interface-based payments at point-of-sale terminals.
The team is representing HarperCollins in an injunction suit filed by a plaintiff after the lawyers successfully defended HarperCollins all the way to the Supreme Court of India. The dispute related to an ex parte interim injunction against publication of a book obtained on the eve of the book launch. The plaintiff had obtained the interim injunction on grounds that the book contained defamatory statements against her. The vacation of the ex parte interim injunction was significant as it upheld the rights of publishers and authors with respect to freedom of speech and expression.
Key clients include Aditya Birla Science & Technology, G4S Security Solutions, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Penguin Random House India, Steer Group and Tata Chemicals.
P&A Law Offices has an experienced and established dispute resolution practice that is multi-jurisdictional and sector agnostic. Market watchers laud the firm for its stellar client roster and involvement in some of the country’s meatiest corporate fights. The litigation and arbitration team comprises over 45 lawyers who work with clients across a variety of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial markets, telecommunications, automotive and consumer goods. The P&A team are known for their leading roles in high-stakes and complex disputes for household name clients, particularly in international arbitration. The firm is also proud of its lengthy track record of acting for the Indian government in contentious investment treaty matters.
Managing partner Anand Pathak helms a team of 13 active disputes partners, including Amit Mishra, Akshat Hansaria and Shashank Gautam.
One marquee achievement recently had the firm brief senior advocate Gopal Subramanium for Daiichi Sankyo in its groundbreaking suit against Ranbaxy. Subramanium was given the right of the audience before Singapore’s High Court and court of appeal. This instance is the first time such a right has been granted by Singapore courts to Indian lawyers. As a consequence of the judgement, the arbitral award in favour of the client remains enforceable.
In other triumphs for the team, it represented the Republic of India in two investment disputes. The first was initiated by a Japanese investor under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and Japan. The firm was responsible for making submissions before the tribunal for the defence of India. In the second, the dispute was initiated by a UAE investor under the Promotion and Protection of Investments between India and the UAE. Both cases ended successfully for the Republic of India with the assistance of the P&A lawyers.
The firm acted for Shristi Infrastructure & Development Corporation in an ongoing ICC[WC(1] arbitration. The dispute arose out of exit rights sought to be exercised by the foreign private equity investor in a joint venture company, where the client was the stakeholder. The JV had been created for the construction and operation of a luxury resort in Kolkata, India. This matter ended successfully in favour of the firm’s client. The team also triumphed in an arbitration for Schneider Electric India against Anacon Process Control. The dispute arose out of purchase orders for the design, supply, testing and commissioning of a SIL-3 Safety PLC system for hydrocarbon gas detection and alarm system to be set up at pump delivery stations under the Western Region Pipelines of Indian Oil Corporation.
Key clients in the past 12 months include Amazon, Axis Bank, Altico Capital India, Bhushan Steel, Diageo, General Motors, ICICI Bank, Ikea, KKR, LG, Mercedes, Sanofi, Schneider Electric, Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Transunion.
The dispute resolution team at Phoenix Legal have pan-India capabilities and are “crisis management specialists” with experience handling complex and sensitive contentious matters. It works on various constitutional, public interest, corporate, civil, corporate crimes and criminal matters before multiple fora across India, from the small causes courts up to the Supreme Court of India.
Co-founding partners Manjula Chawla and Saket Shukla helm a disputes group that includes partners Vasanth Rajasekaran, Gautam Bhatikar and Ritika Ganju.
The firm recently successfully represented news anchor Arnab Goswami and ARG Outlier Media in multiple civil, criminal and breach of privilege related matters across various courts. The Supreme Court’s judgement is landmark as it clarified the position of law that High Courts in India can grant bail in the exercise of their writ jurisdiction. The judgement highlighted the importance of personal liberty and the role of lower courts in granting bail to accused. It also highlighted that criminal proceedings should not be used as a weapon of oppression for the harassment of citizens.
It also assisted newslaundry.com, a leading news media portal, on various civil and criminal defamation actions and matters, including investigations by the police on criminal proceedings filed by a major regional media organisation.A Japanese car manufacturer has instructed the firm in a multi-million dollar dispute under a distributor agreement with its sole distributor of cars in India in international commercial arbitration proceedings before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.
Another key matter had an Indian subsidiary of a French company instruct the team in two tender matters before the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court in a dispute concerning the validity of a grant of concession by the appropriate authority for the construction, operation, cleaning and maintenance of 100 new bus queue shelters and the upgrading, operation, cleaning and maintenance of 319 existing bus queue shelters on a nomination basis.
The firm invested heavily to build up its disputes offering, hiring a full team of four from Legasis partners: partner Bhatikar, associate partner Zoeb Cutlerywala, and senior associates Vikram Kamath and Pinak Bhagwat. Tax specialist Jatin Arora also joined last year from PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Other clients that engaged the firm recently are Busworld International, Jones Lang LaSalle, Larsen & Toubro, Magnaflux Systems, Mersen and Samsung Engineering.
The litigation offering at Pioneer Legal covers a diverse range of dispute matters including complex commercial disputes, project execution disputes, corporate frauds and white-collar crimes. The team provides strategic litigation advice, including during the pre-arbitration and pre-litigation stage, representation in all levels of courts and arbitration fora, drafts communications and pleadings, assists in mediation and settlement, and works on insolvency code-related matters.
The key lawyers for disputes are managing partner Satish Kishanchandani and partner Narendra Dingankar.
In one highlight, the firm represented CG Power and Industrial Solutions before the Securities Appellate Tribunal in relation to the fraud perpetrated by its promoters and group companies.The lawyers assisted an individual and MT Autocraft before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in relation to an oppression and mismanagement petition filed by the client against the majority shareholders of KHM Drive Systems Private. An individual has instructed the firm for her company application filed at the NCLT in relation to disputes arising out of a debenture trustee agreement
Delhi-based Prosoll Law is a respected criminal law boutique, featuring three experienced advocates. Within the criminal law space, the firm handles all practices ranging from anti-corruption matters, money laundering issues, regulatory disputes, white-collar crimes, frauds and economic offence-related litigation, constitutional challenge disputes and civil litigation. The firm works with a diverse range of clientele that includes leading bureaucrats, politicians, government officials, former judges, high-net-worth individuals, business conglomerates, educational institutions, NGOs, start-ups, and more.
Founder of the firm Harsh Sharma is the main contact, a respected criminal lawyer with several landmark judgements under his belt. His practice focuses on anti-corruption, economic offences, constitutional remedies, conventional crime, tort, service matters and alternative dispute resolution. Advocates Vaibhavi Sharma and Lakshya Parasher round out the team.
One ongoing work highlight has the team defending the co-founder and managing director of Micromax Informatics. Its client is accused of accepting a bribe for the unauthorised construction of a banquet hall. The team devised a unique litigation strategy to put forth crucial issues of law with reference to the allegedly incriminating telephone conversations between the client and others accused, being the primary evidence. Three petitions were filed, two of which the High Court decided in favour of the firm’s client. The third is still pending adjudication.
The firm additionally acted for the joint commissioner of income tax in Pune after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed charges against him. The client is accused of misusing his official capacity by asking for and accepting a bribe to clear the income tax file of a businessman. The defence adopted in this case by the team is distinctive as the merit of the case revolves around the peculiar nature of evidence produced by the CBI, wherein there is no primary evidence. The case of the prosecution sets upon only secondary evidence.
In a high-profile matter, Sharma is advocating for the Bar Council of India in the tragic Amity suicide case. Another widely covered case had the team acting for a former Delhi High Court judge in a case concerning the misuse of his official capacity as a judge by accepting illegal gratification to pass a judgement.
PSL Advocates & Solicitors is a boutique law firm with strengths in international commercial arbitration, corporate, insolvency, construction, regulatory and tax disputes. It has offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The firm has Russia, Japan, Dubai and China desks. The firm has ongoing empanelment with a slew of government departments such as the Union of India, the Department of Revenue Intelligence, Ministry of Finance, the Airports Authority of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes, the Central Bank of India, the State Bank of India and the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority.
The main practitioners for the eight-partner strong dispute resolution practice are founding and managing partners Sameer Jain and Sandeep Bajaj, and co-founder Siddharth Jain.
One recent highlight was the firm acting for pyrolysis fuel producer Road Force in arbitration proceedings administered before the International Chamber of Commerce. It is also representing a Singapore commodity trading house, Valency International, in challenge to arbitral award proceedings before the Indian courts.
Indian logistics company SBS Transpole Logistics enlisted the firm to challenge the enforcement proceedings of an ex parte foreign award arising out of a Singapore International Arbitration Centre arbitration. The case involved complex questions of procedural fairness, access to justice, cost of arbitration and prejudice caused to parties in a financially disadvantaged position in having to defend an international arbitration.
The firm is assisting domestic Inter Ads Exhibitions with a dispute over the wrongful termination of a service agreement by a bus and coach exhibition Belgium company. In an insolvency matter, the team is representing the liquidator of Indian pharmaceuticals company, Sterling Biotech, in liquidation proceedings with creditor claims running to more than $80 billion.
Counsel Vipul Jai joined the team last year from his own independent practice.
Key clients include Affordable Infrastructure Housing Private, Arissan Energy, KSS Petron and Sampada Argo & Steel Traders.
“Partners have a sharp mindset to identify financial irregularities and put up convincing arguments in court.” – Commercial and transactions
“They’ve got a very good consultative approach with an holistic view on the matter. Ultimately they were successful in giving closure to the dispute amicably.” – Commercial and transactions
“He understands the situation, is a good listener, and analyses the matter fairly quickly.”
“He’s very quick to grasp the subject matter, and possesses the ability to offer balanced solutions.”
Multi-service law firm Regius Legal has a special focus on dispute resolution and civil and criminal litigation. The firm was established in 2018 with dispute resolution as the core pillar of its offering. Now, the Mumbai-based firm houses over 40 lawyers. The team has a solid track record of handling high-profile and media-sensitive cases involving serious criminal charges for a wide range of clients. On the commercial disputes side, the team is experienced in all stage of commercial litigation, handling a variety of transactional, real estate, commercial, shareholders disputes, and liabilities like debt collections, fraud, procurement claims or administrative battles.
The main disputes contacts are founder Kiran Jain, senior partner Ish Jain and partner Heenal Jain. All three specialise in dispute resolution and white-collar crimes.
In a widely reported matter, the firm defended a client that is a shareholder of KS Chamankar Enterprises in relation to a slum and non-slum project involving the government of Maharashtra. The Anti-Corruption Bureau filed charges against the firm’s client and others for corruption and money laundering. The point raised in litigation is that the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) cannot issue notice and terminate the right of development since in the agreement with the government of Maharashtra, a non-slum project is developed and handed over to the government of Maharashtra. Since this is a combined project of slum and non-slum plot, the SRA, which is a planning authority under the state of Maharashtra, is bound by the agreement. Since KS Chamankar Enterprises and its shareholders have already handed over the constructed area in lieu of giving them development rights of the slum and non-slum plot, the termination of the project by the SRA authorities is unjust.
The firm is working with the CEO of Nitco Tiles before the National Company Law Tribunal in an oppression and mismanagement case filed for his share of 46.36% shareholding. The lawyers are representing the client before an interim resolution professional to secure a property that had been attempted to be usurped under the auction of another company. In another real estate-related highlight, the team acted for Royal Developers against the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA) authority, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, the disputing land owners as well as occupants on the property. The new flat purchasers have consented to appoint the client to complete the construction. The case entails some major and distinctive questions of law for the real estate industry: if the property is purchased through sources which do not fall within the ambit of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, then can the property obtained through these sources be acquired[WC(1] ? And if a third party, right, title and interest is already created before the notice under SAFEMA is issued, can the property still be forfeited?
Leading intellectual property law firm RK Dewan & Co is one of the country’s longest established, having been in the market for nearly 80 years. It has a very active IP litigation practice that is present pan-India and houses over 175 IP specialist practitioners. The team is uniquely poised to file and defend suits in nearly all district courts across the country, not including its regular presence before the various High Courts and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. It is currently the top PCT filer from India and more than two-thirds of its clients are domestic. During the review period, the firm was handling over 100 ongoing litigations in India and had expanded with the hiring of seven new associates. The firm continues to expand its international presence with the establishment of its liaison office in Dallas, Texas in the US two years ago, and its China office in Dalian celebrated its fourth anniversary recently.
Five senior lawyers helm the disputes-related group, including principal Mohan Dewan, head of patents Niti Dewan, Delhi head Nirbhay Bhardwaj, and partners Disha Dewan and Dinesh Nair.
In a patent highlight, the firm is acting for plaintiff Indofil Industries against Coromandel for infringing the client’s granted fungicidal patent. On the trademark side, Electronica Hitech Machine Tools has instructed the firm in its infringement suit against an opponent to stop it from using the client’s registered mark of “Electronica”. In another similar case, the team is assisting Cooper Corporation in protecting its brand by filing a trademark infringement suit against Cooper Elevators Chennai that was using the client’s mark and against BMW, which was intending to use the mark “Cooper” for its engines in India.
Captain Tractors, Daikin Industries, Electronica Hitech Machine Tools, Finolex Cables, Joy Ice Creams, Nilkamal and Regeneron are its notable disputes clients.
S&R Associates has offices in Delhi and Mumbai. With market-leading capital markets and corporate practices, its dispute resolution offering aligns with that strength and routinely works with clients on complex commercial and transactional, regulatory and intellectual property disputes. It also handles investor-state arbitration and bilateral investment treaty claims, and anti-corruption and internal investigations. The team values quality over quantity and is sought after for complex, high-value disputes. The disputes lawyers have appeared extensively before all levels of courts and various international arbitration forums. It recently promoted two counsels to the partnership and the team is now led by four partners and 10 other lawyers.
Key figures in the disputes practice are partners Niti Dixit, Shahezad Kazi, Abhishek Tewari and Raunaq Mathur. Dixit is known for her commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory work.
The team represented Cairn Energy and Cairn UK Holdings in a major investment treaty claim against India arising out of retrospective amendments to India’s tax laws, a vexed issue that has been the subject of considerable attention within and outside India.
In a recent IP-related success, the team acted for F Hoffmann-La Roche and Genentech in their civil claims against the Drugs Controller General of India and certain Indian manufacturers of purported biosimilar versions of the client’s blockbuster breast and gastric cancer drug, Trastuzumab. The claims filed by Roche and Genentech in this regard were the first of their kind in India. Another high-profile highlight was the firm’s representation of ArcelorMittal group in several complex litigations and regulatory matters under India’s new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
The firm’s lawyers have also acted for online fashion retatiler Lulu and Sky Brands Private in proceedings that involve a challenge to the order of the government of India directing the client to modify its corporate name on the basis that it allegedly includes a trademark registered by a third party which principally operates shopping malls and convention centres in southern India. The case involves an unusual issue concerning the use of the Companies Act provisions to assert intellectual property claims where Indian law does not afford such protection. The outcome of this matter may impact the ability of multi-class trademark owners to obstruct the good-faith use of part of a trademark by innocent third parties in their corporate names.
Active clients include Cipher-Plexus Capital Advisors, Endemol Shine OpCo Holdings, Glencore Agriculture, McDonald’s, Nine Rivers Capital and Rocksource.
“Excellent and clear advice, both at a technical level and at a strategic level.” – International arbitration
“She gives consistently excellent and strategic advice and has great knowledge. She is technically excellent.”
Sagus Legal is a full-service boutique that just celebrated its second birthday. The commercial litigation practice handles a plethora of disputes such as shareholder disputes, partnership disputes, antitrust bankruptcy avoidance actions, and conflicts related to securities, commercial contracts, lender liability, real estate, labour and trade and customs. It has a strong power and electricity specialty, as evidenced by its impressive power company client roster. At the time of submission, the firm was handling disputes worth a cumulative value of over $7.5 billion. The disputes team has grown exponentially in the last two years and now has 14 lawyers. It has offices in New Delhi, Bhubaneshwar and Gurugram.
Commercial litigation specialists and partners Anand Shrivastava and Shruti Kanodia are the main contacts for disputes-related work.
In a notable matter, the firm is representing TP Central Odisha Distribution (TCOD) in a dispute that arose out of distribution franchisee agreements entered into between Riverside Utilities, Seaside Utilities and Central Electricity Supply Utility, for non-compliance of the terms of the agreement and for not being able to reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses.
For the same client, the firm continues to act for TCOD in an appeal filed by Indian Railways before the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity. The team has been instructed by Tata Power to appear in a tariff appeal challenging the multi-year tariff orders that were issued by the state regulator.
Key clients of the firm include Bihar State Power Holding, Coastal Gujarat Power, Maithan Power, REC, Tata Power and West Bengal State Electricity Distribution.
“The partners and associates are very hands-on. They have a very good grasp of the law and latest market developments and they excel in providing innovative solutions to tricky issues. Their advice is practical and implementable. Their solution-oriented approach was impressive even as a counterparty.” – Commercial and transactions
“Sagus Legal has been the 'go to' firm for all the major disputes we have faced since vesting of the previous distribution utility. The firm provides an extremely nuanced work with a keen eye for details. The team of Sagus has a very professional approach and their delivery of work is one of the best in the business.” – Commercial and transactions
“Shruti is a master negotiator and her ability to juggle so easily between commercial views and legal views and provide simple solutions to complex issues is outstanding.”
“Anand is a 'hands on' guy. He is extremely thorough in his work. His experience in our specific industry sector really gives him an edge over his peers.”
Saikrishna & Associates is a top-tier firm for contentious intellectual property and technology, media and telecoms matters. In particular, its copyright litigation team is arguably the best in the country, regularly recognised and name-checked by peers and clients. The firm has featured in numerous first-of-its-kind litigations that helped shape the landscape of various industries like media and entertainment, sports broadcasting, standard essential patents (SEPs), pharmaceutical and life sciences, intermediary liability, publishing, information technology and new media and online anti-piracy.
Key contacts for disputes include managing partner Saikrishna Rajagopal and partners Ameet Datta, Sidharth Chopra, Thomas George, Himanshu Bagai, Nitin Sharma and Sneha Jain.
In a historic matter, the team represented Xiaomi against Interdigital in relation to the case that involved allegations of FRAND license infringement for SEPs relating to cellular and HEVC technology.Two judgements rendered in this case in the last year have revamped the jurisprudence on SEP infringement cases in India and globally.
For yet another high-profile case, the firm is defending Amazon Seller Services and their senior executives. The firm is helping its client to navigate complex legal issues arising from multiple criminal actions filed pan-India against its senior executives. Issues involved related to the balance between free speech and hurting of religious sentiments and ensuring personal liberty and avoiding arrest.This case poses important questions of personal liability of senior company executives who are involved in production of content which could contain any religious overtones, and significant issues relating to technology overtaking the entertainment business. The ruling would also have an impact on sectors such as media and e-commerce, which also regularly face risk of actions for publishing content that could have religious implications.
Key clients include Apple TV, Adobe Systems India, Audible Singapore, Bytedance, Fox Star Studios, HarperCollins, Panasonic, Penguin Books, Star India, Walt Disney Company and WeWork.
Samvad Partners is a multi-specialist law firm with a solid dispute resolution offering. The firm’s core litigation areas encompass commercial, employment, competition, intellectual property and financial disputes. The litigation and arbitration team comprises five partners and 17 associates spread across the firm’s five offices in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. It is rapidly developing its mediation and insolvency and debt recovery practices in the wake of Covid-19. Another interesting feature is the firm pioneering and advocating for more online dispute resolution.
Five partners round out the disputes team: Arjun Krishnan, Poornima Hatti, Rohan George, Savani Gupte and Harish Narasappa. Collectively, they cover antitrust, construction, government, insolvency, IP, labour and international arbitration dispute matters.
A disclosable marquee matter for the firm last year was its representation of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in a high-profile, landmark case concerning allegations of anti-competitive selling arrangements entered into by e-commerce platforms Amazon and Flipkart, and their respective ‘preferred’ sellers on the platforms, specifically in the context of the sale of newly launched smartphones. The case is important because it is the first investigation launched by the CCI into the e-commerce sector, which is perceived to be a source of market power that falls outside the pigeonholes of traditional concepts in antitrust law. Although the case relates to smartphones, it has implications for the entire e-commerce sector generally.
Gupte joined in the spring of 2021 from Khaitan & Co. Another senior associate was hired in the summer, Arjun Sarathy from CrestLaw Partners.
The firm’s client stable includes Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction, Phasorz Technologies, QD Seatoman Designs, Society for Informal Education and Development Studies, Tata Projects, Yes Bank and Zetwerk Manufacturing Businesses.
“The firm is proactive in its communications, and has trustworthy engagement and sound local knowledge. They are a cost-effective and affordable firm for top-line litigation work in south India. They were able to assimilate technical issues well, and provide cohesive and precise strategic advice.” – Commercial and transactions
“The lawyers understand the client's needs and respond appropriately. They have a good handle on what other companies are doing in the market to offer pragmatic solutions and options.” – Labour and employment
“She is a valued counsellor to the company on various labour-related matters.”
“Proactive engagement, sound local knowledge and precise legal advice.”
“Vineetha understands the requirements of her clients, is highly professional, insightful and an expert in her field.”
A core pillar of Bengaluru-based Sanctum Law is dispute resolution. Apart from this, the firm is focused on real estate and general corporate law. In the south, the firm is recognised for its expertise in construction agreement-related arbitrations and agreement negotiations, and regulatory litigation against the government. The team’s experience covers a wide range of sectors such as commercial, regulatory, real estate and intellectual property litigation, domestic arbitration and contentious matters relating to company, family, competition, consumer, service, labour, trade and criminal law. In the last 12 months, the firm has been proud of the 90% success rate of its construction and real estate cases, winning 180 out of 200 matters. One of its major successes recently was spearheading the arguments in several writ petitions in challenging the constitutional validity of a draconian piece of legislation, which led to several modifications and interpretations of the Act and its implementation. The firm’s founder, Sammith S, is the sole empanelled legal adviser on the board of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India for Bengaluru and Karnataka.
The key disputes lawyers are Sammith S and Shivananda S.
The team successfully represented more than 75 leading real estate developers in Bangalore in the challenge to various arbitrary levies such as ground rent, licence fee, scrutiny fee, security deposit, lake rejuvenation fee, and upfront collection of labour welfare cess, which were all held to be arbitrary, illegal and unsustainable. In similar triumphs, the team also acted for leading real estate players, tech parks and individuals in challenging land acquisition proceedings.
“The primary service of a law firm is being an advisory to the clients about their legal rights and liabilities. Sanctum Law’s judicial advice is brilliant to resolve disputes. They shared their skills and expertise to render justice and have access to others with different disciplines. The firm has highly trained associates, legal assistants and support staff.” – Real estate
“They are experts in real estate disputes and conveyancing. We have been using them exclusively ever since being introduced to them through another real estate developer about three years ago. Their founder offers quick and effective advice, and ingenious strategies to many of our solutions. Their advice is most sought after by all of the real estate trade association's members, which include several large and medium-sized real estate developers. In fact, most of the real estate disputes, especially with government, are litigated through Sanctum law. Their knowledge of the real estate sector from a government and regulatory perspective is quite unique and despite being a firm full of youngsters, they make up for their lack of experience in their superior repertoire.” – Real estate
“He has excellent communication skills and is very good at litigation work.”
“He has good communication skills, case judgement, analytical skills, research skills and understanding the client's business and business development. He is confident about his cases, which also keeps the client confident.”
“Sammith, despite being a very young lawyer, comes with immense pedigree. Having commenced his independent practice about four years ago, he has been an asset to our company as well as the trade body of the confederation of real estate developers’ association. He seems to be very well-read, but his advice and strategies, despite sometimes being bold, are effective and has yielded desired results. His interpersonal skills and charming personality, coupled with his hardworking abilities make him a standout lawyer.”
“Well-prepared and professional.”
Delhi-based Sarthak Advocates is a full-service firm with a robust commercial litigation and arbitration practice, particularly in the infrastructure and construction sectors. Its insolvency practice is also highly recognised and had an active past year. The firm also serves as a legal panel adviser to government companies, the Shipping Corporation of India and Bharat Heavy Electrical.
The main practitioners to contact include dispute resolution specialist and senior partner Mani Gupta and managing partner Abhishek Tripathi, who is known for insolvency work.
The team represented an individual client in drafting and negotiating his settlement terms with Knowlarity Communications in relation to a dispute revolving around issues of company law. The settlement terms involved payment of cash and securities.
In another matter, the firm was retained by Coastal Projects and its[WC(1] CMD Sabbineni Surendra to defend it in arbitration against IFCI. The main issue involved is regarding the personal liability of promoters and whether a put option on securities constitutes a promoter’s guarantee obligation.
Ongoing clients for disputes include Exit10 Marketing Private, Indian Hydro Electric Power Private, Jal Power Corporation, Kalyani Navyug Media and Siddhi Vinayak Power Generation & Distributors.
“The team is responsive and prompt, thorough and knowledgeable in energy law. The lawyers are sensible and aware of market practices.” – Commercial and transactions
“He is very responsive, sincere and prompt. He is also deeply knowledgeable about several sectors and solution-oriented. He points out issues and risks, but also suggests solutions. He leads his team well.”
“She understands the requirements very well and can think out of the box.”
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM) is a leading firm and a dominant force in dispute resolution. It has unparalleled strengths in core corporate and commercial dispute practice areas and has a truly pan-India presence with offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. The disputes practice has over 120 lawyers, including market-leading senior litigators who cover diverse sectors and industries including financial services, banking, telecom, construction, energy, heavy industries, oil and gas, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, media and information technology. In addition to these, it has robust arbitration and white-collar crime and investigation practices.
Managing partner Pallavi Shroff helms the dispute resolution group that has 20 partners. Apart from Shroff, leading lawyers from the group include Ritu Bhalla, Manu Nair, Ajit Warrier, Ajoy Roy, Anirudh Das, Smarika Singh and Binsy Susan.
In what has been infamously coined as India’s largest banking fraud, the team is acting for Punjab National Bank (PNB) against the two jewellers and their affiliate firms, companies and entities, for defrauding PNB of more than $3 billion. In addition to advising PNB on various regulatory issues connected to banking laws and regulations of the Reserve Bank of India, the SAM team is assisting on the overall dispute resolution strategy for recovering the losses incurred by PNB, and to safeguard the client’s interests in court proceedings presently ongoing in India and the US.
Demonstrating its proven track record in the competition practice, the firm is defending telecom operator Vodafone India and Vodafone Mobile Services in proceedings arising out of the information filed by Reliance Jio Infocomm before the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The team is also representing certain major OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suppliers before the Delhi High Court in a dispute which will determine the scope of confidentiality the CCI is permitted to maintain in investigations involving applications under the Lesser Penalty Regulations.
The firm is continuing to assist Vikram Bakshi and his investing company, Bakshi Holdings, in their shareholder dispute against McDonald’s India Private before the National Company Law Tribunal, which held in favour of the Bakshis. Disputes are also ongoing before an arbitral tribunal established under the rules of the London Court of International Arbitration. The Bakshis-McDonald’s disputes involve complex questions of overlapping jurisdiction, seat of arbitration and exercise of call option in the context of the Foreign Exchange Management Act Regulations.
The firm hired four partners last year to shore up its disputes group: Nawneet Vibhaw from Khaitan & Co, Akhil Anand from L&L Partners, Arjun Perikal from J Sagar Associates and Lalan Gupta from Dhruve Liladhar & Co. Partner Nitesh Jain left for Trilegal.
Recent disputes clients include Axis Bank, FIS Payment Solutions & Services India, Hilton Worldwide Management, PayPal Payments, PVR, Tata Communications and Yes Bank.
“Great arguments, advice and overall ownership of the work.” – Commercial and transactions
“The firm has exceptional solicitors, the best in India. They are tops at providing strategic and legal advice, extensive document review, drafting pleadings and other aspects of written advocacy.” – Commercial and transactions
“They provided us with excellent services.” – Commercial and transactions
“The partner and the associates of the firm are very competent. They have done exceedingly well and brought excellent and favourable awards for us in a very short span of nine months, which is rare!” – Commercial and transactions
“She takes ownership of her work, strategises carefully and has the will to win.”
“He understands the subject, need and dynamics of issues.”
“She is the partner in charge of my arbitrations. She manages the entire team, strategises and provides super legal inputs. She is a superstar of her generation amongst arbitration lawyers in India!”
“Good leadership, experienced, excellent communication, and an international team player with other local top firms.”
“She is very thorough, smart, active, always accessible and responsive. She has excellent knowledge and command of the subject. For our case, she strategised and executed very well, leading to outstanding results.”
Singh & Associates is a full-service firm with offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Gurugram. Its litigation and alternative dispute resolution team is one of its four core practice areas. The team had a very active year with arbitration work, while the Bangalore and Mumbai teams have begun growing its contentious infrastructure practice. The disputes group focuses on all types of litigation instituted and prosecuted within India and abroad, including commercial disputes, recovery proceedings, property disputes, infringement of intellectual property rights, constitutional matters, custody claims, service matters, banking claims, insolvency, criminal matters, white-collar crimes and other disputes. During the period under review, the firm added new significant clients such as Adani Group and Dilip Buildcon.
The five main contacts for disputes at the firm are all experienced litigators in their respective areas: founding partner Manoj Kumar Singh, joint managing partner Gunita Pahwa, senior partners Vijay Kumar Singh, Nilava Bandyopadhyay and Daizy Chawla, and partners Smita Singh and Rajdutt Shekhar.
The insolvency team is assisting the personal guarantors of Dunar Foods in relation to the demand notice served upon them by the State Bank of India for demanding an amount in default by the corporate debtor whose resolution plan has already been approved by the Adjudicating Authority. On the tax side, the lawyers are acting for Allseas Marine Contractors in a dispute relating to the customs duty paid under protest during investigations by officers.
The firm successfully assisted GuarantCo in recovering an amount that was due from Calcom Cement, a subsidiary of cement industry behemoth Dalmia Cement. It also filed a writ petition for Dilip Buildcon before the High Court of Delhi. Through the petition, it sought to direct NTPC, India’s largest power conglomerate, to allow the client’s participation in an online reverse auction process for the development and operation of the Talaipalli coal block, Chhattisgarh.
Key clients of the firm include Cosmos Infra Engineering, Jindal Group of Companies, Kalpataru Group, Novartis, PNC Infratech, Shiv Shakti Inter Globe Exports, Sterlite Technologies and Themis Medicare.
“I am extremely satisfied with the service and guidance we have been receiving for our arbitration proceeding until now.” – Commercial and transactions
“He is extremely professional in approach, and has excellent legal understanding and in-depth subject knowledge.”
Singhania & Partners is an established, respected full-service firm with a sizeable and experienced dispute resolution team. Its core litigation and arbitration areas are commercial, construction, and government and regulatory. The firm has developed specialties in disputes related to contracts with government authorities, consulting agreements, construction projects, building contracts and road construction. It sits on the legal advisory panels of Abhyudaya Housing & Constructions, Bawana Infra Development, Ramky Infrastructure, National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation, National Hydropower Corporation and Shapoorji Pallonji & Company.
The disputes teams are led by seven senior lawyers, including managing partner Ravi Singhania, senior partner Shilpa Shah, and partners Vikas Goel, Shambhu Sharan and Madhu Sweta.
The firm is representing Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation[WC(1] of India in an arbitration arising out of three separate design-build lump-sum contracts for the construction of the eastern arm of the dedicated freight corridor awarded to the contractor. The contractor has sought costs towards prolongation of the contract period. Client Punj Lloyd has instructed the firm in its dispute arising out of a contract with Indian Oil Corporation in relation to a comprehensive high-value lump-sum turnkey design and construction project.
In a high-value conflict, the firm represented the National Highways Authority of India in its appeal before the Supreme Court against an environmentalist in relation to a flagship highway development project. The client challenges the order of the High Court of Madras which quashed the notification for land acquisition for a major highway project on the ground that an environmental study was not completed before identifying the route of the project.
Key clients of the firm for contentious work include Bravura Solutions India, C&C Constructions, Gujarat Maritime Board, Indian Railways, iQoR India Services, National Highways Authority of India, Power Finance Corporation, RailTel Corporation of India, Rural Electrification Corporation, Solar Designs India and Tupperware.
The nearly five-year-old Singularity Legal has a unique business model, billing itself as an Asia and Africa-focused law firm specialising in international dispute resolution. Unlike conventional domestic firms that focus on legal services governed by Indian law, Singularity only handles international cross-border disputes and acts based on the various countries’ governing laws and transnational laws. The boutique law firm has developed a strong track record for handling transnational disputes, unearthing frauds, obtaining injunctive reliefs and assisting in debt recovery.
Since its inception, the firm has handled claims of over $4 billion in cross-border conflicts across various sectors including energy and resources, construction and infrastructure, international trade, and sports and entertainment. It is a cross-disciplinary, one-stop dispute resolution shop for high stakes, complex international litigations and arbitrations. To date, the firm has worked on contentious matters in India, Israel, Indonesia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Turkey and UAE. The firm hopes to shift its headquarters in the near future to Singapore and provide end-to-end transnational dispute services. The firm is a pioneer in frontier areas of dispute resolution, such as digital asset dispute resolution, recovery and enforcement and litigation finance.
Partner Prateek Bagaria is a key contact. His practice focuses on international arbitration, construction disputes, and commercial and corporate litigation.
Samplings of the firm’s work include representing a Canadian individual in an arbitration against a leading cryptocurrency exchange for the latter’s involvement in an arbitrage fraud; representing two Indian companies in an arbitration under a joint-venture agreement for construction of a thermal power plant against a Korean sovereign company; and advising an Indian company in two ad hoc arbitrations and connected court proceedings concerning termination of two contracts for construction of oil tankage platforms against an Indian state-owned enterprise.
The firm has been very active for global litigation funders, including one on its investments in an Indian-related construction portfolio, and another on its investment in a dispute relating to the construction of a Saudi Arabia-based oil and gas facility.
SNG & Partners is well known for its strength in the banking and finance arena. Its dispute resolution offering complements this with a wide-ranging arbitration and litigation offering that covers banking and finance, competition, criminal, foreign exchange, human resources, employment and industrial laws. The firm also represents clients in economic offences, conciliation and arbitration work. It also routinely handles matters relating to the Economic Offences Wing and the Enforcement Directorate.
Six senior lawyers helm the disputes group, including senior partner Sanjay Gupta and partners Varsha Kripalani, Navneet Gupta, Ajay Monga, Ateev Mathur and Rajnish Gaur. Their practices focus on a wide range of areas such as arbitration, banking disputes, insolvency battles, labour disputes and criminal litigation.
The team acted for a large private bank with an Indian presence before the Supreme Court of India in a matter contesting the issue of ‘tenant at sufferance’ in the light of the regime of the Securitisation Act. This is a significant judgement from the banking perspective in as much as various persons claim the protection of their being a tenant in the property which is secured as a mortgage by the banks, and attempt to defeat the claim of the bank when the bank initiates action under the Securitisation Act and takes possession of such property for the purposes of recovering the dues.
In another highlight, the firm successfully defended a private client in an interim injunction on the release of a commercial film on Netflix in a suit instituted before the Delhi High Court. It was also instructed by an asset reconstruction company in India to obtain a stay of an order passed by a statutory authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, by which the assets secured by the client as mortgage for a financial facility extended to a borrower, were attached to the detriment of the clients.
The firm bid adieu to partner B Gopalkrishnan, who left to found his own firm, BGK Law Associates
Solomon & Co, with offices in Mumbai and Pune, was founded in 1909 and brings rich history and experience to its dispute resolution offering. Its disputes team has over 25 lawyers dedicated to the practice and the group averages eight to 10 proceedings per day in Mumbai alone. Jonathan Solomon, who heads the dispute resolution team, has over 50 years of experience and has specifically been appointed by the Bombay High Court to assist in several high-stakes litigations in the past. The firm’s commercial, construction, insurance, insolvency, intellectual property and arbitration work has kept the team busy.
Senior partners Jonathan Solomon and Komal Solomon and partner Anagha Subramaniam are the key contacts for disputes work.
In one highlight, the firm acted for Nirlep Appliances and its chairman against a company petition filed by a relative of the chairman alleging oppression and mismanagement by the board of directors and majority shareholders of Nirlep. The National Company Law Tribunal ultimately dismissed the petition as not maintainable since the petitioner held less than 10% shareholding in Nirlep.
The firm continues to act for Hewlett Packard Financial Services against Vayam Technologies to successfully enforce its claim in arbitration. The client received a successful award to the full extent of its claim, along with interest and costs. This may possibly be one of the first insolvency proceedings against a personal guarantor, running concurrently against the corporate debtors, initiated during the coronavirus pandemic.
Notable clients of the firm include Baroda Pioneer Mutual Fund, Gammon Infra, Genting Energy, Godrej Foods, HSBC, ING Bank, HSBC Bank, Larsen & Toubro, Shapoorji Pallonji Group and Yahoo India.
Spice Route Legal is a technology, media and telecommunications (TMT), intellectual property and data-focused firm. It was established in 2016 and has offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi. The litigation, dispute resolution and risk mitigation practice of the full-service firm experienced robust growth in the past year and it now accounts for 20% of the firm’s total revenue. The team provides the full range of transactional and non-transactional legal services to clients within its industry verticals and has rapidly risen in prominence as a technology player in the market. It offers specialist litigation and pre-litigation services for all things TMT and IP, and for employment law, corporate governance and shareholder disputes. The firm recently was boosted by the joining of life sciences and patent disputes specialist, Adithya Jayaraj from K&S Partners.
The key figures within the team for disputes are partners Mathew Chacko and Praveen Raju.
In a recent matter that highlights the firm’s cross-jurisdictional expertise in niche spaces, the team is assisting Singapore-based healthcare company Esco Micro on a joint venture agreement dispute with its Indian entity, Esco Biotech. The matter spans claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties by a director, intellectual property infringement, and a claim of oppression and mismanagement.
In another noteworthy case, the firm continues to represent plaintiff Milaap, a crowdfunding platform, against internet giant Google. Milaap claimed that Google was using its adwords search to direct its traffic to a competitor, Impact Guru. The Spice Route team, led by Chacko, sought the first-of-its-kind injunction against Google and Impact Guru from passing off the mark ‘Milaap’ by using it in its web address and keywords.
The firm is also working with Indian company Neogen Chemicals, defending it in a trademark infringement suit filed by US-based Neogen Corporation. The latter claimed its company had a significant trans-border reputation within India and that the client was passing off the trademark as its own. Spice Route claimed that the Indian entity had a much wider market presence and therefore there were no grounds for passing off the Neogen mark in India. The outcome of this matter would act as a significant precedent in determining the geographical limitations of trademark usage and lay down the criterion for what can actually be stated as ‘passing off’ a trademark.
Other key clients are Axio Biosolutions, Cattleya Technosys, SimpliFI Softech India, SunEdison Energy India and Teaxpress.
New Delhi-based intellectual property boutique Sujata Chaudhri IP Attorneys has been in operation since 2014. The firm provides services for all contentious IP matters, be it prosecution, litigation or enforcement. Its clients span multiple sectors such as fashion, fast-moving consumer goods, luxury and pharmaceuticals, among others. The team has a steady success record of handling infringement, passing off, and counterfeit disputes before several district courts and the Delhi High Court, in addition to handling domain name disputes and other enforcement-related matters.
Principal Sujata Chaudhri is the main contact at the firm.
In one notable matter, the firm assisted its US-headquartered clothing brand client settle a dispute through court mediated settlement. The client had filed a suit in the Delhi High Court seeking an injunction to restrain the defendants from manufacturing, marketing, offering for sale, selling directly or indirectly any goods bearing the client’s[WC(1] mark. In another highlight, the lawyers helped its fashion accessories-related client obtain an order from the Delhi High Court regarding payment of costs and a court fee refund.
“She is wonderful at everything! From timely communications to considered and practical strategies, this firm stands out as an exemplary provider in the IP services space worldwide.” – Intellectual property
“Our business involves dealing with multiple IP owners and her opinions are always on point. She is also able to provide innovative solutions and keep in mind our budget.”
The core disputes specialty at Tandon & Co is intellectual property, though it does offer a range of services in the areas of commercial litigation, real estate, product liability and recall, and contentious banking and project finance matters. The firm has offices in Delhi and Mumbai. In addition to representing clients before all national court levels, the firm has also appeared before the Delhi International Arbitration Centre, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre and the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration. Last year, the firm was very busy acting on multiple insolvency-related matters for national clients.
Founding partner Kunal Tandon is the main contact.
The firm continues to represent Bennett Coleman & Company to enforce its intellectual property rights in the series mark ‘Times’ in relation to its television channels, print and digital media. The opposing party, Brand Value Communications, sought to misuse and encash the mark by adopting a similar name for a similar genre of television channel.
Tandon and his team are acting for Indian Overseas Bank before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal and Supreme Court as it seeks initiation of the corporate insolvency resolution process against a corporate debtor. The matter had the courts consider an interesting question: whether a one-time settlement offered by the corporate debtor and rejected by the banking institution or by the financial creditor will be considered as an acknowledgment?
Key clients of the firm include Bank of Baroda, Central Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Sony Networks Pictures.
TLC Legal is a sophisticated indirect tax-focused boutique that brings together lawyers, tax consultants and chartered accountants. Many on the legal side have additional accounting qualifications. The firm specialises in advisory and litigation relating to indirect tax, covering goods and services tax, customs, central excise, service tax, VAT, foreign trade policy, Foreign Exchange Management Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The firm has offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Bengaluru.
The main contacts at the firm are all indirect tax specialists: managing partner Vipin Jain, senior partner Vishal Agrawal and partner Aqeel Sheerazi.
The team successfully assisted appellant Larsen & Toubro in its challenge to the customs authorities relating to import duties. In another highlight, the firm acted for Jio in a matter before the Tax Appellate Tribunal. The matter is unique as it is the first time a decisive law has been laid on the aspect of a portion of the Cenvat Credit Rules which warrants that reversal of taxes paid on inputs and input services cannot come in to play in situations where a certain quantum of inputs and input services are in any case required in the manufacturing process and the emergence of by-product cannot be averted by using a lesser quantity of inputs and input services.
Recent publishable clients include Jio, Metrod and VVF.
Trilegal is a prominent full-service firm with a sizeable team of seasoned dispute resolution experts. The firm excels in all traditional corporate areas but has particular disputes strengths in competition, complex commercial litigation, international arbitration, insolvency, tax, and white-collar crime. The group has grown in the past year, with its Mumbai and Bangalore offices increasing to 15 lawyers, and a partner and seven lawyers, respectively. The Delhi office houses four disputes partners and another 25 lawyers. The team hired disputes counsel Madhav Misra last summer.
Trilegal has deep and long-standing relationships with a vast network of top-tier foreign law firms. With its place locked in among the best global disputes firms, the international arbitration team is a go-to choice for various international and domestic clients, including the 3i Group, DE Shaw, Alibaba, EIG, Abu Dhabi National Energy Co, Cairn Energy, Tata Communications and Axiom Telecom.
Dispute resolution head and partner Shankh Sengupta leads a team of disputes-focused partners that includes Jafar Alam, Ashish Bhan, Anuradha Agnihotri, Tine Abraham, Pallav Shukla and Nitesh Jain. Other key figures are partners with practice specialties that overlap with the disputes group, such as competition specialist Nisha Kaur Uberoi, white-collar crimes investigation specialist Kunal Gupta and tax specialists Himanshu Sinha and Samsuddha Majumder.
The Trilegal lawyers continue to represent Vistra ITCL India in a suit filed before the High Court of Bombay that is currently pending. The crux of the dispute involves the client trying to recall amounts due towards non-convertible debentures that Reliance Capital had defaulted payments on. The matter raises important legal questions concerning the validity of security interests created in favour of successive parties, their inter se priority and the ability to recover assets and sale proceeds retained by third parties.
The team successfully represented EIG Mauritius in Singapore-seated arbitration proceedings against McNally Bharat Engineering and its subsidiary, McNally Sayaji Engineering Limited. The issue in the arbitration primarily related to the legality of the put option under the Foreign Exchange Management Act and Securities Regulation. This dispute is significant in the realm of enforcing contractual rights and foreign awards relating to put options, the legality and validity of which are challenged under securities and foreign exchange regulation law.
In a high-profile insolvency matter, the firm is acting for Piramal Capital and Housing Finance in relation to all cases arising out of and in connection with the insolvency proceedings against DHFL across forums including the Supreme Court. This is one of the largest insolvency cases in India and the first Indian case dealing with the insolvency resolution of a non-banking financial company under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The outcomes from this case are likely to settle several novel and unsettled issues in relation to the insolvency proceedings against a financial service provider.
The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation has instructed the disputes team to oppose a change in law claim raised by RKM Powergen Private before the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission. This is a significant ruling on the role of estoppel in competitively bid thermal power projects. The question that arose was whether an undertaking provided after the grant of a Letter of Intent in a bidding process could override the provision of a standard form contract executed between the parties. The decision upholds the sanctity of pre-bid undertakings.
Trilegal is known for its loyal international client base, though it also has many heavyweight domestic clients. Some of these include AgustaWestland International, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Embraer, ICICI Bank, Max Life Insurance, Rabobank Singapore, Samsung Electronics, Tata Communications Payment Solutions, and Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation.
“The firm is familiar with litigation in India and is active to provide the best option for its clients.” – Commercial and transactions
“Trilegal played a pivotal part in our legal strategy and were instrumental in creating our briefs for our senior counsels. Along with Trilegal, we made legal precedent and our case in the Supreme Court of India has become the law in India with respect to the Insolvency Act and the Arbitration Act.” – Commercial and transactions
“They generally do well in all matters.” – Government and regulatory
“The team provided good and strategic advice on the next steps of commercial negotiations in our arbitration.” – International arbitration
“The partner was able to strategise and present our case in multiple courts in India where the execution cases are filed.” – International arbitration
“She was leading our case as the chief strategist. She is exceptional and brilliant coupled with preparation that is comprehensive. She led her team well and prepared briefs that really made the difference in the litigation.”
“She works well with providing good options for solutions and is very responsive to our requests, including our ad hoc queries for decision making.”
“Attentive and prompt.”
“Nitesh is able to strategise the legal case and entail the services of senior counsels very well.”
Boutique commercial firm Veritas Legal has steadily grown since its establishment in 2015. Its dispute resolution team handles contentious corporate and commercial matters across all practice areas, offering litigation and arbitration services. It has developed an active white-collar crime practice and has strong reviews for its real estate offering. To date, the firm has completed over 500 filings across different forums in India.
Head of litigation and dispute resolution Rahul Dwarkadas leads the group that includes partners Abhijit Joshi, Kunal Doshi and Neveille Mukerji.
The firm is assisting Airplaza Retail Holdings in a matter where a police complaint was filed against them in Agra for the alleged offences of cheating, breach of trust, misrepresentation and other allied offences. Ultimately, after many rounds of defence arguments, the lawyers successfully convinced the police that the matter was civil in nature and they did not need to act on the complaint filed against the client. This matter involved a nuance of criminology, which tests the ability and experiential knowledge of legal advisers, to be able to recognise that there is a delicate balance between applying for anticipatory bail and answering the summons issued by the police.
Pfizer instructed the team in relation to various false claims being made by third parties in connection with the Covid-19 vaccine. Another pharma client, Sanofi India, is also working with the firm to defend against a civil writ petition filed by a Sanofi employee against the company and top management. The petitioner is alleging certain malpractices by other employees and allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
In another triumph for the firm, it acted for Deloitte Haskins & Sells before the High Court of Bombay in challenging the validity of the direction issued by the government of India sanctioning prosecution and initiation of various proceedings against the client in relation to its audit for IL&FS Financial Services. This was a first-of-its-kind challenge under the Companies Act and the High Court of Bombay findings not only set a precedent but were part of a landmark judgement.
The firm’s white-collar crime practice was augmented under the guidance of Ahmed Javed, who assists the practice in his role as the chief adviser to Veritas Legal. Javed retired as the 39th Commissioner of Police, Mumbai and also served as the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The senior official is able to counsel on preventative and strategic measures to be followed in the course of internal investigations and mitigation of civil, regulatory and criminal exposure.
The firm counts Armstrong, Bombay Stock Exchange, Central Depository Services, Honeywell, Lodha Group, Schloss Hma Private and Tata Group as key disputes clients.
“Analyses the matter well. Responds reasonably quickly.” – Commercial and transactions
“The litigation team is adept at understanding the client and its requirements and this helps in positioning and drafting.” – Commercial and transactions
“Negotiate well with conviction and passion.” – Commercial and transactions
“The strategy to handle the issue.” – Commercial and transactions
“Veritas Legal is good in all the practice areas especially dispute resolution. They always have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter, work efficiently and always meet the deadlines.” – Commercial and transactions
“We appreciated his domain expertise, personal involvement all throughout the matter, and his industry good will and reputation.”
“He is very good at all subject matters.”
“Silpa is efficient and hard-working. She has in-depth knowledge and the ability to find a solution and understand operational aspects quickly.”
Full-service firm VR Associates has a focused litigation practice on family and matrimonial, real estate, criminal, intellectual property and environmental law. The firm is headquartered in Faridabad Delhi, and serves a wide range of clients, from individuals to high-net-worth individuals to financial institutions. With an established network of professionals across 36 locations in India, the firm is capable of addressing all contentious matters across diverse practice areas and industry sectors.
Family law specialist and managing partner Ved Tiwari is the firm’s main contact.
Tiwari and his team have worked on numerous interesting family law cases, including ones that centred around the issue of polygamy, the adoption of infant twins, and assisting a family in rescuing a young girl from her abusive father and putting her under foster care. The firm has also been busy with a string of cybertheft-related matters in the past year.