One of the leading ladies in intellectual property rights in India, Pallavi Shroff, has made it to the Business Today Most Powerful Women list for the sixth time. The jury specifically noted Shroff's contribution to the path-breaking case of Bharat Matrimony vs Google, where the regulator - Competition Commission of India - held Google guilty of 'search bias' and fined it $21.17 million. "Google was found to be indulging in practices of search bias and by doing so it causes harm to its competitors as well as to users," CCI's 190-page order noted in February 2018. Google has challenged the judgement in the Competition Appellate Tribunal.
"Almost five years ago, for the first time a very complex issue like this was being addressed. It took us quite a bit to work through before you could reach the CCI to see if there was a case. It was the very first time that abuse to dominance in the technology sector was being looked at in India. Issues of big data and a whole bunch of things were being looked at," says Pallavi Shroff, Managing Partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas. "Then when we decided to go to the CCI, even through the investigation, we had to take a lot of strategic calls on positions to be taken. You look at the parallel investigations going on around the world. Is it applicable to India? Is there data to support in India?"
The other major recent win for Shroff - who happens to be Justice P.N. Bhagwati's daughter - was while representing ONGC vs Reliance before the AP Shah Committee in a case related to alleged theft of gas. An estimated 11.12 billion cubic metres of ONGC gas worth approximately `11,000 crore had escaped from its Godavari and KG blocks to RIL's KG-D6 block, between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2015.
Meanwhile, the firm itself handled several other high-profile cases. Representing Vikram Bakshi in the shareholder dispute against McDonald's India before the National Company Law Tribunal, the Tribunal held in favour of Bakshi, allowing him to operate the restaurants. Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas also represents Punjab National Bank in the $2-billion fraud cases against fugitive businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in what is India's largest banking fraud. The firm's involvement in nearly all of the first 12 cases, referred for insolvency in the first round, rounds up a very eventful guidance under Shroff.