Libertatem Magazine

Interview with Ashish Anshu, Partner at Tatva Legal, Hyderabad

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Mr. Ashish Anshu is a Partner at Tatva Legal, Hyderabad. He has been part of the legal profession for over 24 years. He is currently heading their Real Estate and Labour Law practice and is sought after by IT companies, financial institutions, investors and developers for real estate matters (including title verification). He is also known for his experience and expertise in litigation and labour matters.

Mr. Ashish has assisted IKEA India in its acquisition of land in Hyderabad for their foray into India. He regularly advises multinational corporations, including Tishman Speyer, Accenture, Dell and Novartis.

He has been ranked by the Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific Guide 2019 for Real Estate practice in Hyderabad.

In this interview, Mr. Anshu talks about his experience in the profession over the years and extensively elaborates upon the elements of the Real Estate Law in India. He has also discussed his take on the possible changes in the Labour laws due to declining GDP in the country.

Anukriti: What prompted you to study law after completing B.A in History from DU?

Ashish Anshu: I come from a family which has seen several legal luminaries during the last three (3) generations including, Chief Justice of India, Attorney General of India, Solicitor General of India, Advocate General and High Court Judges. My father was a designated Senior Advocate (he passed away three years ago after having practised for about 50 years in High Court). My father during his long stint of private practice had a huge client base and a huge library of his own. As such, he had a strong desire that one of his sons (out of two) should take up law as a profession so that there is someone who could take care of his practice as well as his library. My younger brother being an officer in the Indian Army, the onus fell on me, and I took up law as a profession. I joined the Bar in the year 1996.

Anukriti: As a person who has been part of the legal profession for over 24 years now, how will you describe your experience?

Ashish Anshu: My experience in the last twenty-four (24) years has been immensely enriching and highly satisfying. Having started as a private practitioner, I started getting my personal briefs after being in the profession for about two (2) to three (3) years. I went on to become the Standing Counsel for the State of Bihar in its Land Ceiling panel and was also Junior Counsel in the panel of lawyers for B.R.A Bihar University.

During this stint, I got exposure to handling various types of matter ranging from civil matters, criminal matters, education matters, consumer forum matters and arbitration matters. I also got several opportunities to represent the clients before various forums / quasi-judicial forums. After practising for ten (10) years, I decided to move out of my hometown and join a corporate law firm. I joined a corporate law firm in Hyderabad, in the year 2005, and has since then been in Hyderabad. With time, I got specialized in Real Estate and Labour practice areas and I continue to provide advice to clients in these areas. As such, my experience has been great, an experience which has not only made me a better and qualified professional but has helped me evolve as a person, and I find myself better equipped to handle complex matters and situations and take pride in being of help to my clients, who look for good and efficient legal advice.

I have been ranked by the Chambers and Partners Asia-Pacific Guide 2019 for real estate practice in Hyderabad.

Anukriti: In all these years of your practice, how has the profession changed according to you? Law Also, what major changes are likely to occur according to your post the pandemic ends?

Ashish Anshu: Since I joined the profession, the profession has undergone immense change. Right from the way legal education was imparted earlier to the way the professionals used to conduct themselves in the profession, everything has undergone an immense change. While, earlier, the law profession was considered to be a profession wherein a person in black and white dress visits Court and argues before the Judge, the profession has taken a dynamic turn and has become a multi-faceted profession. The legal profession now attracts extremely talented individuals who do not stick only to Court related work but take up challenging roles as legal advisors, legal consultants, arbitrators, in house counsels and so on. Individuals educated in premier law colleges are well equipped to take on professional responsibility in an efficient and professional manner. The legal profession is no more an ‘another career option’ but has taken over as a very competitive and talent oriented profession.

The ongoing pandemic (Covid 19) has impacted everything and anything in the world and the legal profession is not left out. The entire legal fraternity is facing the consequences of the pandemic. The Courts in India are either not functioning or are functioning with severe limitations. Online Courts have become the norm of the day. As far as your query with regard to the change which the pandemic would bring is concerned, I feel it would be the way in which the different facets of the profession are handled viz. client meetings, court hearings, filing of cases, handling of files etc. All these critical facets of the profession are bound to undergo a change, and which changes I feel would take its own time to settle, till the entire system adapts itself to it and gets used to it.

Anukriti: Real Estate Law in India is not what a lot of students are familiar with. Can you elaborate upon the intricacies that lie within the framework?

Ashish Anshu: Real Estate Law generally refers to laws which deal with property (both movable and immovable). For example, land, machine etc.. While the students do learn Real Estate laws during their legal studies, they know the same / refer to the same by the name of the respective legislation viz. The Transfer of Property Act, the Contract Act etc. Any issue relating to a property viz. What is property? What is the sale/lease/gift? Who can own a property? Who can transfer a property? and How can a property be transferred? will have an answer in the Transfer of Property Act. Similarly, any issue relating to a contract will have a solution/answer in the Contract Act. Laws relating to real estate being a concurrent subject (under the Constitution), there are various Central and State laws, which govern it. While the Transfer of Property Act and the Contract Act are Central Laws, Ceiling Law, Revenue Law, and Tenancy Law are State Laws.

The intricacies of Real Estate laws inter alia involve ascertaining right, title and interest of an individual to a property, for which a title due diligence exercise is undertaken. Upon completion of the due diligence exercise, and the finding thereof being satisfactory to the parties concerned, there is a stage of drafting of the contract to be executed between the parties viz. sale deed, lease deed, gift deed and/or development agreement. Upon execution of the contract, there could be a stage wherein disputes arise between the parties. This stage could involve negotiation between the parties, arbitration to settle the dispute, and/or Court litigation.

The above is only indicative, and the entire process involves a more detailed and intricate process.

Anukriti: India is witnessing a negative GDP due to the covid-19 situation and we are likely to see one of the most prolonged recession in the country. What in your opinion can be the possible changes to the Labour laws in the country to improve the situation?

Ashish Anshu: The ongoing pandemic (Covid 19) has created a situation across the globe, which is beyond the imagination of the stakeholders. Labour sector is not untouched by the impacts of the pandemic. The most critical impact of the pandemic has been in the form of migration of the workforce from their place of work to their respective hometown. This has not only resulted in a shortage of workforce but has created a situation where the stakeholders have been left grappling with issues involving both the employers and the employees. The situation requires the balancing of Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy as it involves the rights of the employers as well as the employees. As such, necessary amendments to the applicable labour laws have been necessitated.

The prevailing situation has also resulted in the drying up of revenue of the employers and wages of the employees. This requires addressing issues linked to payment of wages, rate of payment, time of payment etc. As such, the laws related to wages viz. Payment of Wages Act requires to be adequately and appropriately amended so at to protect the rights of both, the employers and the employees.

Certain states like Uttar Pradesh have promulgated UP Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Law Ordinance 2020 where under application of all labour laws in the State have been suspended for the next three (3) years. So, in view of the prevailing pandemic situation, labour laws relating to / dealing with service condition, wages, labour welfare etc. would surely need to be amended so as to help both the employers and the employees meet the exigencies created by the situation. Having said so, it needs to be noted that the Government of India and the State Governments are conscious of the prevailing situation, and necessary amendments are being made to the relevant labour laws so as to ensure justice to the employers and the employees.

Anukriti: Can you share your experience of imparting legal services to IKEA India with respect to the acquisition of land in Telangana for their foray into India?

Ashish Anshu: When IKEA decided to open its flagship store in India, at Hyderabad, our Firm was chosen to assist IKEA. The transaction involved undertaking title due diligence on the subject property and drafting of the contract for the acquisition of the property. I was heading the team which was undertaking the assignment.

While it was a great opportunity to provide service to IKEA, the assignment involved immense responsibility and confidentiality. Dealing with the issues, which arose during the title due diligence exercise and subsequently, involved taking critical decisions, in a timely manner, so as to ensure effective, efficient and timely closure of the transaction. Negotiation of the terms of the contract with the government agencies was a tactical and delicate part of the transaction. Having closed the transaction successfully and having participated in the ground-breaking ceremony for development of the store was immensely satisfying. We still assist IKEA as and when they require any legal assistance.

Anukriti: What would be your advice to our readers?

Ashish Anshu: I would not like to advise anyone (till my advice is specifically sought) but would surely like to mention that while the legal practice may appear to be mundane to many, in my view it’s one of the most dynamic fields of practice. It involves real-life situations and requires solutions which withstand the scrutiny of law. The real treasures of law lie deep under, and hence one who dives deep would surely be able to find the treasure.

As such, the individuals interested in law should aspire to be motivated, dedicated and honest in their approach. Being consistent and methodical is the icing on the cake. Quality and timely delivery of work are the two qualities which would ensure success. And this I speak from my personal experience of last twenty-four (24) years. There is no short cut to success in the legal profession like any other hardcore professional job. And one who diligently ensures compliance with the aforesaid qualities, the ‘sky is not the limit’ for such an individual.

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