The Government has been issuing numerous advisories, notifications and relaxations to enable companies to face the hardships caused by the spread of COVID-19 and equip them to better handle the situation. The Courts have also been very proactive in granting various reliefs. In this section, we give you ready access to some of the key Government notifications, advisories, court orders and notices released this week.

3 July 2020

Karnataka High Court extends the operation of interim orders till 7 August 2020

The Karnataka High Court has extended its order of 24 March 2020 regarding extension of interim orders till 7 August 2020. The original directions of 24 March 2020 pertained to the following:

1. All interim orders passed by the Karnataka High Court, all the District Courts, Civil Courts, Family Courts, Labour Courts, Industrial Tribunals and all other Tribunals in the State;

2. Bail orders;

3. Orders of eviction, dispossession or demolition.

Please click here for the Notice.

2 July 2020

NCLAT to remain suspended till 10 July 2020

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has announced through a notice dated 2 July 2020 that the Court work (Virtual hearing) and filing etc. in the NCLAT will remain suspended till 10 July 2020.

Please click here for Notice.

1 July 2020

RBI operationalises Special liquidity scheme for NBFCs/HFCs

Further to the announcement made by the Finance Minister as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat package, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a scheme to improve the liquidity position of NBFCs/HFCs (Scheme). The Scheme will be operationalised through SBICAP which is a subsidiary of the State Bank of India, to be set up as SPV. This SPV will purchase the short-term papers from eligible NBFCs/HFCs, who will utilise the proceeds under this scheme solely for the purpose of extinguishing existing liabilities. RBI has also provided the conditions for eligibility under the Scheme. The instruments will be CPs and NCDs with a residual maturity of not more than three months and rated as investment grade. The facility will not be available for any paper issued after 30 September 2020 and the SPV would cease to make fresh purchases after 30 September 2020 and would recover all dues by 31 December 2020.

Please click here to access the RBI Notification.

1 July 2020

Karnataka High Court extends closure of district courts and High Court till 7 August 2020 for purposes of Limitation Act

The Karnataka High Court has extended the period of closure of all the District and the Trial Courts in the State of Karnataka and the High Court of Karnataka, Principal Bench at Bengaluru and Benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi till 7 August 2020 for the purpose of Section 4 of the Limitation Act, 1963.

Please click here for the Notice.

1 July 2020

ESIC further extends the last date to 15 July 2020 for ESI Contribution for October 2019 to March 2020

On account of COVID-19, the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) had issued a notice on 16 March 2020 stating that the ESI contribution for February 2020 can be filed and paid up to 15 April 2020 (instead of 15 March 2020) and for March 2020 can be filed and paid up to 15 May 2020 (instead of 15 April 2020). On 18 May 2020, ESIC had given further relaxation by allowing employers to file the return of contribution for October 2019 to March 2020 till 11 June 2020. Now, this relaxation has been extended upto 15 July 2020.

Please click here for the notice dated 1 July 2020.

Please click here for the notice dated 18 May 2020.

Please click here for the notice dated 16 March 2020.

30 June 2020

SEBI further extends timelines for compliance with regulatory requirements by depository participants/Registrars to an Issue & Share Transfer Agents

Due to the challenges arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic, SEBI had provided relaxations in timelines for compliance with various regulatory requirements by the depository participants (DPs)/Registrars to an Issue & Share Transfer Agents (RTAs). SEBI has decided to further extend the timelines for compliance with the regulatory requirements by DPs / RTAs pertaining to the following:

- Processing of the demat request form by Issuer / RTA

- Processing of the demat request form by the Participants

- Submission of half yearly Internal Audit Report (IAR) by DPs for half year ended on 31st March 2020

- Redressal of investor grievances

- Transmission of securities

- Closure of demat account

Please click here for the Circular.

30 June 2020

MNRE issues clarification on its order giving extension for RE projects due to COVID-19 for a period of 30 days beyond lockdown

On 17 April 2020, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had issued an Office Memorandum (OM) allowing Renewable Energy (RE) implementing agencies to grant a blanket extension of lockdown period and an additional 30 days for renewable energy projects. The MNRE had also said that all Renewable Energy implementing agencies of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy will treat lockdown due to COVID-19, as Force Majeure. Further, MNRE had stated that this will be a blanket extension - there will be no requirement of case to case examination or any evidence for extension due to lockdown. Now, MNRE has issued another Office Memorandum providing certain clarification with respect to the following:

- The period of lockdown is to be treated from 25 March 2020 to 31 May 2020.

- All projects through RE Implementing agencies designated by the MNRE and the projects under various schemes of the MNRE are covered by the OM of 17 April 2020.

- The timelines for intermediate milestones of a project may also be extended within the extended time provided for commissioning under the OM.

- The Developers of the projects may also pass on the benefit of such time-extension, by way of granting similar time-extensions, to other stakeholders down the value chain like Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contractors, material equipment suppliers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), etc.

Please click here for the OM dated 30 June 2020.

Please click here for the OM dated 17 April 2020.

30 June 2020

NCLT extends date of hearing to 20 July 2020 onwards for pending matters before its Principal bench and Delhi bench

In light of the surge in COVID-19 cases, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by its order dated 30 June 2020 has extended the date of hearing to 20 July 2020 onwards for all pending matters before its principal bench and Delhi bench.

Please click here for the NCLT Notice.

30 June 2020

Karnataka High Court cancels physical hearing of the cases at its Principal Bench

Due to the increase in number of cases of COVID-19, Karnataka High Court has cancelled physical hearing of the cases at the Principal Bench of High Court at Bengaluru. Only those Benches which are already notified for hearing of urgent matters through Video Conferencing will function. However, the Benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi will function normally as per previously notified schedule.

Please click here to access the Notice.

29 June 2020

SEBI extends due date for regulatory filings and compliances for REITs and InvITs

On 23 March 2020, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had granted temporary relaxations in compliance requirements for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The due date for regulatory filings and compliances for REITs and InvITs for the period ending 31 March 2020 was extended by one month over and above the timelines prescribed under SEBI (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014 (InvIT Regulations) and SEBI (Real estate Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014 (REIT Regulations). SEBI has further extended the due date for regulatory filings and compliances for REIT and InvIT for the period ending 31 March 2020 by a month over and above the extended timelines specified on 23 March 2020.

Please click here to access the SEBI Circular dated 29 June 2020.

Please click here to access the SEBI Circular dated 23 March 2020.

29 June 2020

SEBI extends implementation of its guidelines for portfolio managers

On 13 February 2020, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had issued 'Guidelines for Portfolio Managers' to be implemented from 1 May 2020. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the implementation of these Guidelines was postponed by two months on 30 March 2020. SEBI has now extended the implementation of Guidelines for Portfolio Managers for three months. Accordingly, the provisions of the Guidelines for Portfolio Managers will be applicable from 1 October 2020.

Please click here to access the SEBI Circular dated 29 June 2020.

Please click here to access the SEBI Circular dated 30 March 2020.

Please click here to access the SEBI's Guidelines for Portfolio Managers dated 13 February 2020.

29 June 2020

MHA issues Unlock 2.0 guidelines, extends lockdown upto 31 July 2020 in containment zones

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the lockdown in containment zones up to 31 July 2020 and issued revised guidelines for phased reopening of prohibited activities that State/Union Territorys must strictly enforce. In areas outside containment zones, all activities will be permitted, except the following:

1. Schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions etc.

2. International air travel of passengers (except as permitted by MHA);

3. Metro rail;

4. Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assemble halls and similar places;

5. Social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions and other large congregations.

Further, National Directives for management of COVID-19 will have to be followed across India and have been detailed in Annexure I of the MHA order. Additionally, movement of individuals will be prohibited during the night (from 10 pm to 5 am) throughout the country (except in case of essential services). Further, there will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods and no separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements.

Please click here to access the Unlock 2.0 MHA Order.

Please click here to access the Unlock 1.0 MHA Order.

29 June 2020

Ministry of Civil Aviation revises guidelines for limited domestic air travel

The government had commenced a limited amount of domestic air travel operations from 25 May 2020. Accordingly, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had issued an order on 21 May 2020 (Order) specifying certain general instructions, guidelines to be followed by passengers and specific operating guidelines for major stakeholders such as airlines, airport operators, ground handling agencies, etc. One of the requirements of the Order was a self-declaration to be made by the passengers that they have not tested COVID-19 positive in the last two months. Given the evolving COVID-19 situation, where new cases that have been cured are in large numbers, MoCA has accordingly decided to update the above provision to allow the declaration to extend for the last three weeks (instead of two months).

Please click here to access the MoCA order dated 29 June 2020 regarding self-declaration.

Please click here to access the MoCA Order dated 21 May 2020.

29 June 2020

Delhi High Court continues suspended functioning for courts in Delhi till 15 July 2020

The Delhi High Court has decided to continue to remain suspended till 15 July 2020. Further, hearing of urgent matters by all Benches and the existing procedure of mentioning of urgent matters will continue in the High Court till further orders. All the pending matters listed before the Court (including the courts of Registrars and Joint Registrars) from 1 July 2020 to 15 July 2020 have been adjourned for revised dates in August and September. Separately, the Court has also ordered that the functioning of the subordinate courts in Delhi will also remain suspended till 15 July 2020.

Please click here for the Order dated 29 June 2020 regarding functioning of Delhi High Court.

Please click here for the Order dated 29 June 2020 regarding functioning of subordinate courts.

Please click here for the Order dated 13 June 2020 regarding functioning of Delhi High Court.

Please click here for the Order dated 13 June 2020 regarding functioning of subordinate courts.

Originally published June 29, 2020.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.