Photo of Aditya Mehta

Partner in the Dispute Resolution Practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Aditya has expertise and extensive experience in commercial litigation and arbitration (both domestic and international), handling disputes both of a general commercial nature as well as public and regulatory disputes across sectors, including financial regulation, administrative, white collar, sports, media and entertainment, food and beverage, local government, planning and environment and public sector projects. He regularly appears and argues matters before Courts (including High Courts and the Supreme Court), Tribunals and Regulatory Authorities. He can be reached at aditya.mehta@cyrilshroff.com.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996

In Part I[1] and II[2] of this post, we have analysed the contours of Section 34(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“the Act”), and the questions and ambiguities that may arise in its applicability. The purpose of this blog is to further analyse the limited scope of Section 34(4) of the Act, in light of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgement in I-Pay Clearing Services Pvt. Ltd. v. ICICI Bank Limited[3] case, wherein it is observed that failure on the part of the arbitral tribunal in providing findings on contentious issues in the award is not a “curable defect” under Section 34(4) of the Act, and is an acceptable ground for setting the award aside (instead).

Continue Reading Section 34(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996: A Fly in The Ointment? (Part III)

Awarding Interest on Interest A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court Upholds the Law

Introduction

The Supreme Court of India upheld the power of an arbitrator to grant ‘interest on interest’ or compound interest in its recent judgement in UHL Power Company Limited v State of Himachal Pradesh[1]. Placing reliance on its earlier decision in Hyder Consulting (UK) Limited v. Governor, State of Orissa[2], the Court has held that the terms of Section 31(7)[3] of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), are explicit in granting an arbitral tribunal the power to award interest on the “sum” directed to be paid under an arbitral award, which is inclusive of the interest awarded thereunder.

Continue Reading Awarding Interest on Interest: A three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court Upholds the Law

Specific Relief Act

INTRODUCTION

The Supreme Court of India, in its recent decision in the case of Universal Petro Chemicals Ltd. v. B.P. PLC & Ors.[1], asserted that damages in lieu of specific performance under Section 21(5) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 (“Act”) cannot be granted, unless specifically claimed in the plaint.

Continue Reading Damages in Lieu of Specific Performance Must be Specifically Claimed

Contracts Act

Introduction

In its recent judgement of Loop Telecom and Trading Limited v Union of India and Another[1], the Supreme Court denied the Appellant restitution of certain sums paid by it under a void agreement. The Court, while rejecting the claim for restitution u/s 65[2] of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 (“Act”), placed reliance on the doctrine of ‘in pari delicto’, and reiterated that courts shall not assist a party who has paid the money or handed over the property in pursuance of an illegal or immoral contract[3].

Continue Reading Restitution Under the Contracts Act: The In Pari Delicto Exception

Arbitration

An arbitrator is a creature of a contract and is, therefore, equally bound by it. The Supreme Court, in the recent judgement of Union of India vs. Manraj Enterprises[i], set aside an arbitral award wherein the arbitrator had awarded pendente lite and future interest on the amount awarded, inspite of a contractual bar. The Court, relying upon a catena of judgments dealing with the inherent powers of an arbitrator to award pendente lite and future interest under Section 31(7) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the 1996 Act), held that such powers are exercisable only in the absence of an agreement to the contrary.

Continue Reading The Power to Grant Interest Pendente Lite – Arbitrator Bound by the Agreement Between the Parties: The Supreme Court Reiterates

Arbitration

INTRODUCTION

Recently, in the case of Gyan Prakash Arya vs. Titan Industries Limited[1], the Supreme Court enunciated the limited scope of an arbitral tribunal’s power under Section 33 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the Act). The Court has authoritatively clarified that such power can only be exercised to correct clerical and/or arithmetic errors (and errors of similar nature).

Continue Reading The Supreme Court Clarifies: The Power Under Section 33 is Limited to Rectifying Clerical/ Arithmetical Errors

Digital Age Warfare

A. Introduction

In this digital age, it may not be out of place to say that data has replaced oil as the most valuable resource. The advancement of technology has led to the emergence of a new species of extortion, where ransom is sought in lieu of data, which is illegally assumed control over. This phenomenon is popularly known as a ransomware attack. A ransomware attack includes a malware that is introduced onto the host’s computer or mobile, thereby encrypting its data, with a subsequent demand for a ‘ransom’ for decryption of the same, to secure its release[i].

Continue Reading Digital Age Warfare: Ransomware Attacks

Vitiating Elements of Free Consent

The concept of freedom of contract has two meanings; first is the freedom of a party to enter into a contract on whatever terms it may consider advantageous to its interests, or to choose not to, and second, that there should be no liability without consent being embodied in a valid contract.[1]

Continue Reading Vitiating Elements of Free Consent: A ‘How to Plead Guide’

TIME IS THE ESSENCE OF THIS CONTRACT - IS IT REALLY

INTRODUCTION

Negotiated, as also standard format contracts, are rife with clauses proclaiming time is of the essence. Parties are usually rest assured after spelling this out, hoping (nay assured) that such words employed would by themselves be adequate to enforce rights through a Court or an arbitral process. Sadly, mere words are usually never enough.

The Supreme Court, in the recent judgement of Welspun Specialty Solution Limited vs. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.[i], has reiterated the principles basis which Courts are required to construe whether time is of the essence of a contract. The Court held that a collective reading of the entire contract and its surrounding circumstances is imperative to come to such a conclusion. Merely having an explicit clause in the contract may not be sufficient to make time the essence of it. The Court also held that the availability of extension procedures to fulfil obligations under a contract, along with consequent imposition of liquidated damages, are good indicators to hold that time is not of the essence.
Continue Reading Time is the Essence of this Contract: Is it Really?

The “Security” Defence in Cases relating to Dishonour of Cheques – Not a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card

INTRODUCTION

The Supreme Court, in the case of Sripati Singh vs. The State of Jharkhand & Anr[i], has provided much needed clarity on the often-used defence of a cheque having been issued as ‘security’ in proceedings under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (the Act). The Court held that a cheque issued by way of security, if dishonoured, would attract the provisions of the Act, if the same is issued in consequence of a legally enforceable debt, which has become recoverable at the time of its presentation.

Continue Reading The “Security” Defence in Cases Relating to Dishonour of Cheques – Not a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Card