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MCA notifies commencement of Section 132 (3) and (11) of the Companies Act, 2013

Central Government, vide its notification dated 21st March 2018, notified provisions of sub-sections (3) and (11) of Section 132 of the Companies Act, 2013, pertaining to functions and powers of the National Financial Reporting Authority and the appointment of secretary and employees thereof, respectively, to come into force on and from 21st March 2018. Also, the National Financial Reporting Authority (Manner of Appointment and other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Rules, 2018 dated 21st March 2018 was notified by the Central Government.

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GST Council recommends introduction of e-way Bill

GST Council in its 26th meeting held on 10th March 2018, recommended e-way bill to be introduced with effect from 1st April 2018 for inter-State movement of goods across the country and from 1st June 2018 for intra-State movement of goods, for individual consignments of value in excess of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only). Under the e-way bill system, transporters will have to produce an e-way bill for moving any goods worth Rs 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) and above, from one state to another. Consignments of value lesser than Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) are exempted from generation of e-way bill. Further, the time period for the recipient to communicate his acceptance or rejection of the consignment would be the validity period of the concerned e-way bill or 72 hours, whichever is earlier. Further, extra validity period has been provided for Over Dimensional Cargo.

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Supreme Court recognises Passive Euthanasia, Living Wills 

The Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 9th March 2018 in the case of Common Cause (A Regd. Society) v. Union of India and Another ruled that passive euthanasia may be permissible for terminally ill patients with no hope of recovery, in cases that maybe approved by the medical board. The apex Court further held that ‘living will’ should be permitted since a person cannot be allowed to continue suffering in a comatose state when he or she doesn’t wish to live, and stated that advance directives for terminally-ill patients could be issued and executed by the next friend and relatives of such person after which a medical board would consider such directives.

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Linking of Aadhaar not mandatory unless for the purpose of availing Subsidies

The Supreme Court vide its order dated 13th March 2018 in the case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr v. Union of India & Ors. directed that the interim order passed on 15th December 2017 (mandatory linking of Aadhaar on or before 31st March 2018) shall stand extended indefinitely until the matter is finally heard and the judgment is pronounced on the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (Act).  However, the Apex Court directed that the benefits, subsidies and services covered under Section 7 of the Act shall remain undisturbed by the aforesaid order of the Court.

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Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2018

 In the wake of several scams and fraudulent activities, the Fugitive Economic Bill, 2018 was proposed on 12th March 2018, with the objective of providing authorities with the power to confiscate properties of economic offenders who have left the territory of India to avoid facing criminal prosecution and refuse to return to India to face the criminal charges against them. The Bill defines a “fugitive economic offender” and also lays down the procedure for declaration of an individual as a fugitive economic offender, pursuant to which, the Court may confiscate properties of the concerned offender which are proceeds of the crime, benami properties in India or abroad, and any other property of the concerned offender in India or abroad

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RBI discontinues Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and Letters of Comfort (LoCs) for Trade Credits

Reserve Bank of India vide its Circular dated 13th March 2018, has issued directions for discontinuation of the practice of issuing LoUs/ LoCs for Trade Credits for imports into India by AD Category –I banks, except in case of compliance with the provisions contained in Department of Banking Regulation on “Guarantees and Co-acceptances”.

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Courts cannot refer parties to Arbitration on oral consent given by their counsel

 Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 9th March 2018 in the case of Kerala State Electricity Board and Another v. Kurien E. Kalathil and Another ruled that in the absence of an arbitration agreement, the Court can refer parties to arbitration only with the written consent of the parties either by way of a joint memo or joint application and not on mere oral consent given by their counsel. Referring the parties to arbitration could be made only when the parties agree for settlement of the dispute through arbitration by a joint application or a joint affidavit before the court.

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Secured Creditor should mandatorily consider Debtor’s Representation under Section13 (3A) of Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act)

The Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 19th March 2018 in the case of ITC Limited v. Blue Coast Hotels Limited and Others held that while recovering secured property from non-performing assets, a secured creditor should mandatorily consider the debtor’s representation under Section 13 (3A) of the SARFAESI Act, after the initiation of proceedings under Section 13 of the SARFAESI Act. Section 13 (3A) of the SARFAESI Act enables debtors to make a representation or raise objections after notice is issued to them by creditors under Section 13 (2) of the SARFAESI Act. The creditor is then expected to consider such representation and communicate his views on the same within fifteen (15) days.

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