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Senior Associate in the Dispute Resolution Team at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Arjun has about 5 years’ experience in dispute resolution. He focuses on arbitration as well as litigation before the Supreme Court and High Courts across various sectors including infrastructure, sports, technology, media and entertainment and food and beverage. He can be reached at

The Supreme Court reaffirms the scope of patent illegality


The Supreme Court has, in Patel Engineering Limited v. North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited,[1] reaffirmed the scope of patent illegality, post the 2015 amendment of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), as a ground to challenge a domestic award under Section 34 of the Act.

Disputes between Patel Engineering Limited (“Patel Engineering”) and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (“NEEPCL”), arising out of works contracts for three separate packages, culminated in three arbitral awards dated March 29, 2016. One of the issues in each of the three arbitral proceedings was which clause of the conditions of contract would apply to decide the rate at which Patel Engineering was entitled to extra payment for additional quantities of lead. The arbitrator’s interpretation was in favour of Patel Engineering in all three awards. NEEPCL challenged the awards before the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Judicial), Shillong, who upheld the awards.
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On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus disease a pandemic. On the same day, the Government of India imposed visa and other travel restrictions. Soon thereafter, many states in India declared a ‘lockdown’, an emergency measure [under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (“Disaster Management Act”)] to prevent and contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and also issued prohibitory order(s) under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. A stricter lockdown was then imposed by the Central Government, which will presently remain in effect till May 3, 2020. During the lockdown, whilst certain commercial activities have been classified as essential and are permitted to continue operations, subject to following preventive measures (including social distancing), several others remain stalled and suspended.

Conditional or unconditional stay, that is the question – The fate of arbitral awards in India, pending challenge


Ever since the enactment of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the “Arbitration Act”), arbitral awards have been statutorily granted the same status as a decree of a civil court by way of a deeming fiction under Section 36 of the Arbitration Act. Up until the amendment of the Arbitration Act in 2015, the filing of an application challenging an arbitral award had the effect of an automatic stay on the enforcement of the award. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 (the “2015 Amendment Act”) changed this, by mandating a separate application to be filed seeking stay of the award, which may (or may not) be granted by the court, subject to such conditions as it may deem fit.
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