Darius J. Khambata, Senior Counsel, practices in the Supreme Court of India, Bombay High Court, other High Courts and Tribunals across India. He has held two distinguished public law offices - as Advocate General of Maharashtra (2012- 14), and before that as Additional Solicitor General of India for three years. When his term as Advocate General came to an end, the Cabinet of the then newly-elected Maharashtra government recorded its “highest appreciation of the ¬¬meritorious and distinguished services” rendered by him. Mr Khambata joined the Bar as a junior to Iqbal M. Chagla, Senior Advocate, in the Chambers of Khurshedji H. Bhabha, Senior Advocate. During his early years at the Bar, he was actively involved in several major corporate litigations, including those involving the Indian Express Group and Britannia Group and in several matters before the Special Court dealing with the 1992 Securities scam. He was part of the team representing ANZ Grindlays Bank in arbitration against National Housing Bank; then the largest commercial arbitration in India, and later before the Special Court and the Supreme Court. He was also part of the team for Petitioners in a constitutional challenge to the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act 1971, and assisted the great jurist H.M. Seervai in that case before the Bombay High Court. Mr Khambata has a large and varied practice, and has appeared in numerous significant constitutional, corporate and commercial matters and domestic and international commercial arbitrations. He is a specialist in several areas of practice, including securities, arbitration, corporate, constitutional and administrative law. He has argued several important cases involving complex constitutional, criminal, tax and environmental law issues.
Among the notable cases argued by Mr Khambata are: for the tenants of the Mumbai Port Trust in the Board of Trustees of the Port of Bombay versus Jayantilal Dharamsey; Jamshed Wadia v Bombay Port Trust for the State of Maharashtra to uphold the constitutionality of levying value-added tax in respect of construction of buildings in a group of appeals decided in Larsen & Toubro versus State of Karnataka; for the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Defense to uphold the order of demolition of the high-rise building Adarsh on grounds of violation of town planning and CRZ laws and security considerations in Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society versus Union of India; for the State of Maharashtra to successfully defend the ban on gutka in Dhariwal Industries versus State of aharashtra; for the Union of India successfully challenging and limiting the order for cross-examination of NSG Commandos in the Ajmal Kasab trial; the Competition Commission of India versus Bharti Airtel; Madhu Ashok Kapur versus Rana Kapoor (the Yes Bank case); the Coastal Road matter for the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in Worli Koliwada Nakhwa versus the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai; the MCX Stock Exchange matter (for SEBI) for King’s XI Punjab challenging its disenfranchisement by the BCCI; the Joint Venture dispute between Sanofi Aventis and Novartis; and the arbitration between Tata Sons Ltd. and NTT Docomo Inc.
Mr Khambata regularly appears before the Securities Appellate Tribunal both for the SEBI as well as for private parties, and has argued several leading cases concerning securities laws. He is currently a member of SEBI’s Takeover Panel, which recommends exemptions from open offers required under the SEBI Regulations on takeovers. Previously, he was a member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Committee to recommend new insider trading regulations. He was part of the Law Commission of India’s Committee, which in 2014-2015 framed and recommended substantial amendments to the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996. He has been Vice-President of the London Court of International Arbitration, and is currently a member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre’s Court. He is a member of One Essex Court, a leading set of commercial chambers in the UK, apart from having his own chambers in Mumbai. He also sits on the Advisory Council of the Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai.