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A sudden change of heart can also be unconstitutional


A poster from the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) popped up recently on social media. It provides a snapshot of haircuts taken by banks while resolving loan defaults by large corporate groups—three accounts involve forgiveness of over 90%. The data not only provides an insight into how India’s insolvency and bankruptcy resolution framework may have inadvertently inserted perverse incentives for defaulters, but is also a compelling counter-point to the ongoing debate on “freebies”, made more urgent by the Election Commission’s (EC) recent incursions. Both the seemingly disparate trends are tied by a common link: a sudden change of heart.

The liberal loan hair-cuts—some of which can arguably be justified—feed the ongoing debate about “freebies”. The debate was triggered after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a July speech, launched an onslaught against a culture of giveaways in contemporary politics. A debate has raged since then. The AIBEA poster is among the counter-arguments against the dominant narrative, asserting that protests against welfare benefits for the poor tend to ignore an economic system custom-built to formally absolve loan defaults by the rich and powerful.

The latest to join the debate is the EC, which is proposing that all political parties provide in their election manifestos an account for promises made, indicating the expense of each promise and how they plan to meet it. Apart from the proposal’s bizarreness, the timing—just before the Gujarat assembly elections—is surprising. It also coincides with the ruling party’s rising crescendo of condemnation against a prominent opposition leader for promoting freebies. The EC move may be happenstance, but the timing does raise questions.

Apart from introducing techno-financial rigidity to welfare considerations, an oddity in an economy experiencing a recurrence of rising poverty numbers, the EC also seems unmindful that, one, some welfare measures are not amenable to statistical measurement and, two, that it may be trespassing into an area reserved by democracy only for interaction between political parties and voters.

What makes this proposal even more farcical is the EC’s complete about-turn from April, when it submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court stating that it was not qualified to regulate state policies and decisions by a party winning and forming a government. Then, in August, when the Supreme Court proposed to set up an expert panel to examine the issue of freebies promised by political parties before an election, the EC declined to be part of the same panel, arguing that doing so was antithetical to its constitutional status. Then, early October came the EC’s inexplicable and sudden U-turn.

Another example of a curious flip-flop is embedded in the AIBEA’s snapshot, which shows that in 13 loan accounts, involving a total loan amount of 446,800 crore, Indian banks have recovered only 161,820 crore, implying an average haircut of 64%. There are three accounts, involving a total loan outstanding of about 73,000 crore, in which banks have taken haircuts of over 90%—namely, Videocon, ABG Shipyard and Siva Industries.

The last-mentioned name is likely to become an interesting legal precedent because both the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and its appellate tribunal (the NCLAT) had ordered that the company be wound up, despite the resolution professional’s report to both tribunals that over 90% of its creditors had agreed to the promoter’s one-time settlement plan involving an over-90% hair-cut. Subsequently, in June 2022, a Supreme Court bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Hima Kohli quashed the NCLT and NCLAT orders, ruling that both tribunals were not justified in disregarding the commercial judgement exercised by a majority of the firm’s creditors.

While the Supreme Court may be philosophically and legally justified, two issues merit closer attention. One, the creditors—with government-owned IDBI Bank in the lead—settled the 4,863-crore debt for just 323 crore, thereby writing off over 4,500 crore of public money. Interestingly, many creditors had initially dissented against the settlement terms, thereby failing to reach the mandated 90% agreement; however, International Asset Reconstruction Company (with a 23.6% vote) had a mysterious change of heart a month later and changed its vote from “against” to “approve”, providing creditors with the requisite majority.

It is quite likely that this one-time settlement on generous terms might encourage future borrowers to default and then get away by paying much less than what they originally owed, provided they are able to convince most creditors—even on a delayed basis—to agree to such resolution terms. To be sure, there are tangible benefits at the end of the tunnel: with their default records whitewashed, these borrowers are then free to tap the credit market once again.

Neither the Election Commission nor asset reconstruction company, it would seem, felt the need to provide a justification for its delayed volte-face. While the EC invokes the Supreme Court’s 2013 order to justify its latest proposal, the final outcome is not only far more ambitious, but also, intriguingly, nine years after that order but a few months ahead of a crucial state election in the country. Life seems to be imitating art, especially low-brow Bollywood films.

Rajrishi Singhal is a policy consultant and journalist. His Twitter handle is @rajrishisinghal.

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Japan Month 2024

Japan Month 2024 (Open for Registration)

Japan Month 2024

September-October 2024 has been designated as ‘Japan Month‘ with the objective of advancing bilateral relations between India and Japan across multiple areas, including politics, security, economics and culture. Many events focusing on trade, investment, culture, people-to-people exchanges and other fields including seminars, symposia, exhibitions, etc., will be organized.

The Embassy extends invitations to companies and organizations to participate in the Japan Month. Kindly register in accordance with the guidelines below if you are interested in further deepening Japan-India relations. For details on application, please refer to the ‘Participation Guidelines‘.

Once the registration of an event is successfully completed, the Embassy will extend various supports including advertising the event through Embassy’s website and social media. For further details, please refer to the section ‘After registration.’

[Participation Guidelines]


Kindly fill this form to register an event for the Japan Month by providing event description and other information. (Questions can also be submitted using this form).

Please review the following points before applying:

  1. The event should contribute to the deepening of India-Japan relations. The events should primarily be held in September or October 2024*

*Events scheduled before September 2024 or after October 2024 are also acceptable. However, please apply as early as possible, at least one month prior to the event.

  1. Events can be organized anywhere in India (events outside India are not eligible).
  2. Application and registration is free.
  3. You may apply even if a few details of your event are tentative. Further, please note that there is an internal review after the submission of the application (see ‘After application’ for details).
  4. If you need to make any changes to the contents of an already submitted application, please indicate in the ‘General Inquiry about Japan Month’ section at the end of a new form, indicating that the current submission is an amendment to the previous application.
  5. After the event, please complete the questionnaire. (Ex: the number of visitors to the event)
  6. By submitting your application, you pledge to comply with the following:

(1) Not to implement any project that offends public order and morals.

(2) Not to implement any project that violates or may violate the laws and regulations of Japan or India.

(3) Not to implement any project that does not align with the goal of promoting friendly relations between Japan and India.

(4) Not to implement any project that aims to propagate a particular principle, political statement or religion.

(5) The applicant must not be an anti-social force and must not have any relationship with anti-social elements.

<After Application>

  1. Once the application has been submitted, the Embassy of Japan will conduct an internal review before registration.

(1) The Embassy staff may contact the applicant to ask and confirm the purpose and details of the event. Tentative details about the event such as timing and content might also be considered for registration.

(2) The registration may be declined if the target audience of the event is extremely limited, if the content of the event is considered to be merely an advertisement for an individual company or in case the purpose or target of the event is unclear.

  1. Once the internal review has been completed, the Embassy staff will contact the person in charge of the registered event by e-mail with the results of the review.
  2. If you wish to make any amendments to your application after the internal review, please submit a new application form and indicate the same in the ‘General Inquiry about Japan Month’ section at the end of the application form, mentioning that “amendments have been made after the completion of the internal review.

[After Registration]

  1. Once your project has been approved, the Embassy will send you the Japan Month logo by email along with the “Terms of Use.” The event organizers can use the logo on social media for advertising.

2. The event outline will be posted on the Embassy of Japan’s website and SNS accounts.

<Supports from the Embassy>

  1. The Embassy will respond to requests for consultations regarding the implementation of the event.
  2. The Embassy will extend its cooperation for the success of the event. For instance, it will ensure the attendance of either an official/s from our mission or request the Indian Government to send a high-level official to the event.
  3. The Embassy will also assist you in selecting the venue for the event.
  4. The Embassy will facilitate your communication with other companies and organizations for event collaborations.
  5. Please note that the Embassy of Japan will not be able to provide any financial support or human resources, regardless of the nature of the event.

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Japan Desk

Introduction: Japan Desk (日本デスクを紹介します)

Introducing “Japan Desk”

Welcome to our Japan Desk, your go-to destination for all things Japan – India related!

At our Japan Desk, we aim to provide comprehensive coverage and insights into the vibrant culture, rich history, and dynamic developments shaping Japan and India today.

What We Offer:

  1. Latest News and Updates: Stay informed with our timely coverage of breaking news, current events, and noteworthy happenings across Japan and India. Whether it’s politics, economy, technology, or culture, we’ve got you covered.
  2. Cultural Insights: Delve into the fascinating world of Japanese culture, from traditional arts such as tea ceremonies and kabuki theater to modern phenomena like anime, manga, and pop culture trends.
  3. Business and Economy: Explore Japan’s bustling business landscape in India and vice versa, from innovative startups to established corporations. Gain valuable insights into market trends, investment opportunities, and economic developments driving Japan & India’s growth.
  4. Language and Lifestyle: Learn more about the Japanese language, customs, and way of life.

Why Choose Our Japan Desk:

  • Expertise: Our team of seasoned colleagues, cultural experts, and industry insiders bring you in-depth analysis and firsthand knowledge of Japan and India.
  • Diverse Perspectives: We strive to present a balanced and diverse range of perspectives on Japan, reflecting its multifaceted nature and complex societal issues.
  • Engaging Content: From informative articles and interviews to immersive multimedia features, we deliver engaging content that educates, entertains, and inspires.

Join us at the Japan Desk as we embark on a journey to explore the captivating world of Japan and India together. Arigatou gozaimasu (Thank you) for choosing us as your trusted source for all things Japan!





  1. 最新ニュースとアップデート:日本とインド全体での破壊的なニュース、現在の出来事、注目すべき出来事に関するタイムリーなカバレッジで情報を得てください。政治、経済、技術、文化など、幅広く取り扱っています。
  2. 文化の洞察:茶道や歌舞伎などの伝統芸術からアニメ、マンガ、そしてポップカルチャーのトレンドなど、日本文化の魅力的な世界に深く入り込んでみましょう。
  3. ビジネスと経済:革新的なスタートアップから確立された企業まで、日本とインドの活気あるビジネスの景色を探索してください。市場のトレンド、投資機会、日本とインドの成長を牽引する経済的展開に関する貴重な洞察を得ることができます。
  4. 言語とライフスタイル:日本語、習慣、生活様式についてさらに学びましょう。


  • 専門知識:経験豊富な同僚、文化の専門家、業界の内部者からなるチームが、日本とインドに関する熟知した分析と第一手の知識を提供します。
  • 多様な視点:日本の多面的な性質と複雑な社会問題を反映した、バランスの取れた多様な視点を提供することを心がけています。
  • 魅力的なコンテンツ:情報提供の記事やインタビューから没入型のマルチメディア特集まで、教育的で楽しい、そしてインスピレーションを与えるコンテンツを提供します。


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Fali S Nariman

Eminent Jurist And Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman passes away

Renowned legal scholar and Senior Advocate, Fali S Nariman, passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 95.

A graduate of Government Law College, Mumbai, Nariman initially practiced in the Bombay High Court before relocating to Delhi upon his appointment as Additional Solicitor General (ASG) during the tenure of the Indira Gandhi government.

During the national emergency imposed by Gandhi, Nariman resigned from his ASG post and continued his distinguished career in private practice.

His son, Rohinton Nariman, later ascended to the position of Solicitor General of India and subsequently became a judge at the Supreme Court.

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Chandigarh Mayor Poll

Supreme Court Quashes Chandigarh Mayor Election Result, Declares AAP Candidate as Winner

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court quashed the decision by the Returning Officer (RO), Anil Masih (the Presiding Officer), declaring a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate as the Chandigarh Mayor on January 30.

[Case: Kuldeep Kumar vs UT Chandigarh and ors]

A panel comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued the directive subsequent to rejecting RO Masih’s rationale for deeming eight votes cast in favor of the AAP candidate as invalid.

“The eight votes, which were deemed invalid through specific markings… Inclusion of these eight votes in favor of the petitioner (AAP candidate Kumar) results in a tally of 20 votes. We hereby annul the election outcome declared by the presiding officer. The AAP candidate is officially declared the triumphant participant in the mayoral elections of Chandigarh,” decreed the Court.

The Court expressed strong disapproval of the actions of Returning Officer Anil Masih.

The Court asserted that Masih had “illegally altered the trajectory of the mayoral election” and made a statement before the Court that was deemed a “manifest falsehood.”

Consequently, the Court issued a show cause notice to Masih.

“Masih could not have been oblivious to the making of a false statement. The Registrar Judicial is directed to issue a show cause notice to Anil Masih, compelling him to demonstrate why proceedings should not be instituted against him under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (pertaining to Section 195, which addresses ‘Prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants’). Anil Masih shall be afforded an opportunity to submit a reply to the show cause notice,” mandated the Court.

The Court was in the process of adjudicating a petition filed by AAP Councillor Kuldeep Kumar, who alleged fraudulent conduct in RO Masih’s decision to declare Manoj Sonkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who has since resigned, as the Mayor of Chandigarh on January 30.

On January 30, BJP’s Manoj Sonkar was officially declared the winner of the mayoral elections with 16 votes, surpassing the 12 votes received by the Congress-AAP candidate, Kuldeep Kumar. This outcome transpired despite the AAP-Congress alliance holding a majority in the house with 20 members. Out of a total of 36 votes cast, 8 votes were rejected during the counting process as invalid.

Subsequently, AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar contested the mayoral election results initially before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Upon the High Court’s refusal to stay the election results, Kumar filed a plea before the Supreme Court. Notably, during the pendency of the matter before the top court, Manoj Sonkar resigned from the position of Mayor, and three AAP councillors defected to the BJP.

This development was acknowledged by the Supreme Court, expressing distress over what it termed as “horse-trading.”

During the Monday hearing, Anil Masih, the Returning Officer, asserted that he had marked the eight ballot papers submitted by the AAP-Congress alliance with ticks and “x” marks to distinguish them as they were allegedly “defaced.” The Court then directed the production of the ballot papers and the video recording of the counting process.

Upon receiving the ballot papers during the subsequent hearing, the Court observed that the invalidated ballots, as marked by Masih, were evidently votes in favor of the AAP candidate, Kuldeep Kumar. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Chandrachud questioned Masih’s claim of defacement, asking where the alleged defacement was present.

Senior Advocate AM Singhvi, representing Kuldeep Kumar, criticized Masih for repeating this assertion before the Court. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, defending Masih, argued that the disqualification was based on a small dot and folded ballot papers, suggesting a fair assessment by Masih.

Rohatgi claimed that Masih, seen looking at CCTV cameras, was responding to commotion outside, and he emphasized that no guilty person would act in such a manner with cameras present.

However, after the Court played the video of the January 30 vote count, it countered Rohatgi’s argument, noting that Masih had made the marks and declared the result before any commotion or attempts to snatch the ballot papers occurred.

Punjab’s Advocate General (AG) Gurminder Singh contested Masih’s explanation, asserting that the RO was well aware of the procedure and misled his counsel, emphasizing that voters were instructed to fold the slips laterally. The AG argued that Masih’s claim of defacement was misleading, as the RO himself explained the folding procedure on video.

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