Kaustubh is a Principal Associate at Acara Law LLP. Kaustubh graduated from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad in 2014, and has since practiced litigation and dispute resolution before various fora, including the Supreme Court of India, High Courts of Delhi, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, Tribunals such as NCLT, NCLAT, PMLA Appellate Tribunal, APTEL, NGT, NCDRC, Mines Tribunals, district courts and Arbitral Tribunals, in addition to an extensive advisory practice, primarily the following practice areas:
A. International and domestic arbitration:
Ø Construction contracts: Experienced in representing government entities as well as leading private contractors in disputes arising out of road and railway construction contracts which adopt FIDIC as the GCC. Experienced in devising strategies for establishing as well as challenging a wide gamut of claims in relation to construction contracts, such as force majeure claims, change in law, price variations, additional works performed beyond the scope of contract, Employer’s risks, claims for extension of time and additional payments / Costs, royalty payments, deduction of taxes from running bills, interpretation of FIDIC “time-bar” clauses under Indian contract law.
Ø Shareholders’ agreements / joint venture disputes: Experienced in representing clients in disputes arising between joint venture partners, including claims relating to wrongful termination, non-payment of revenue share, withheld payments, breach of good faith obligations. In the telecom sector, represented a company broadcasting a sports channel in India in an international commercial arbitration administered under SIAC Rules. The issues involved included the applicability of the Group of Companies Doctrine to bind non-signatories to an arbitration agreement, reference of disputes under multiple interlinked contracts to arbitration under the principal agreement, enforceability of agreements to agree under Indian contract law and jurisdictional challenges. In the pharmaceutical sector, represented an Indian medical devices manufacturing company in a domestic arbitration against an MNC, arising out of the wrongful termination of an exclusive distribution agreement. Issues involved included non-compliance with the termination procedure, principles of waiver, acquiescence, estoppel. Also experienced in engaging with quantum experts for quantification of damages.
Ø Hotel management contracts: Successfully represented a leading hotel management company in a domestic arbitration against the hotel owner, arising out of the wrongful termination of the hotel management contract and other ancillary agreements. Issues involved included the scope of principal – agent relationships, agency coupled with an interest and quantification of damages.
Ø Interim reliefs and challenges to Awards: Experienced in conducting proceedings for securing as well as disputing interim and injunctive reliefs and challenges to Awards before various jurisdictional fora.
B. Infrastructure and Energy Laws:
Ø Extensive experience in representing major industry players before the Supreme Court, High Courts of Delhi, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, NGT and Mines Tribunals at Bilaspur and Ranchi in disputes arising in relation to mining and mineral development laws, coal blocks auction and allocation, commercial coal mining, environmental protection compliances, forest
conservation regulations, levy of environment compensation damages, appropriation of performance security under coal mine development and production agreements.
Ø Successfully represented a leading cement manufacturing company before the Orissa High Court challenging the denial of post-production incentives promised by the State of Odisha under industrial promotion policies on the grounds of promissory estoppel and legitimate expectation.
Ø Successfully represented leading exporters before the Supreme Court challenging the denial of rebate entitlements under the Foreign Trade Policy of the Central Government.
C. Writ proceedings, commercial litigation and white-collar crimes:
Ø Experienced in representing clients in writ proceedings, challenges to arbitrary State action, statutory interpretation, as well as contractual disputes, termination of contracts, invocation of bank guarantees, insolvency proceedings under IBC, schemes of mergers and amalgamations, oppression and mismanagement, financial regulations including proceedings under FEMA, PMLA, SARFAESI and SEBI Act.
Ø Highlights include representing an IPL franchise and a leading software MNC in cases concerning alleged FEMA contraventions before the PMLA Appellate Tribunal; representing major industry players in disputes regarding appropriation of bank guarantees under CMDPAs before jurisdictional fora; representing an Indian defence construction company in a contractual dispute with the Ministry of Defence before Delhi High Court.
Ø Experienced in advising clients regarding the statutory compliances required for commencement of mining operations, including the procedure for grant of environment clearance, forest clearance, consents to operate, mining leases, mine opening permissions, transfer of mining leases, and securing funding for mining operations by creation of security through mortgages.
Ø Advised various Indian and international pharmaceuticals companies, including in relation to e-pharmacies, tele-medicine, conduct of clinical trials, BA/BE study; regulations governing import, sale and distribution of drugs and new drugs; regulations governing health supplements and nutraceuticals.