Does the arbitration clause in a commercial contract becomes unenforceable due to non-payment of stamp duty, or it is preserved by the separability doctrine? This question has riddled the Supreme Court of India (“SC”) repeatedly and has resulted in contrary views being adopted by various three-judge benches. The issue has been finally laid to rest by a constitution bench of the SC through its judgment dated April 25, 2023 in M/s N. N. Global Mercantile Private Limited v. M/s. Indo Unique Flame Ltd. & Ors.[i] , wherein it held that an unstamped instrument in need of stamping is not a contract and not enforceable in law. Therefore, the arbitration clause contained therein is also unenforceable. Similarly, an arbitration agreement, which attracts stamp duty but is not stamped or insufficiently stamped, cannot be acted upon. Interestingly, the decision has not been unanimous since two Hon’ble Judges have dissented. Continue Reading Does Non-Stamping of a Contract Render an Arbitration Clause Contained in it Unenforceable? The Supreme Court Says Yes
Raunak Dhillon is a Partner in the Disputes Resolution practice at the Noida office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Raunak has fifteen years of experience in the areas of litigation and arbitration. His area of expertise covers commercial, infrastructure and real estate disputes, criminal and white collar litigation, insolvency litigation and arbitration. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Hon’ble SC”) in its recent judgment dated March 27, 2023, in State Bank of India & Ors. v. Rajesh Agarwal & Ors.[i], has conclusively decided on the question of whether the principles of natural justice should be read into the provisions of the Reserve Bank of India (“RBI”) (Fraud Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks and Select FIs) Directions, 2016[ii] (“Master Directions on Frauds”). The question, which has been pending before various High Courts and was raised before the Hon’ble SC in numerous appeals, has now been answered in the affirmative by the Hon’ble SC by holding that the principles of natural justice, particularly the rule of audi alteram partem, has to be necessarily read into the Master Directions on Frauds to save it from vice of arbitrariness as classification of an account as fraud entails serious civil consequences for the borrowers.Continue Reading Principles of Natural Justice Prevail: Supreme Court Reads Rule of Audi Alteram Partem into Master Directions on Frauds
The resolution process for real estate companies is anything but simple, given the complexities involved and the plethora of parties with varied and conflicting interests. One such issue was whether local industrial development authorities, in particular the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (“NOIDA”), should be classified as financial creditors or operational creditors, by virtue of the lease deeds they enter into with various corporate debtors.
The question has now finally been answered. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its judgment dated May 17, 2022, in the case of New Okhla Industrial Development Authority v. Anand Sonbhadra, has now declared that NOIDA is not a financial creditor and would be classified as an operational creditor under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the “Code”). The issue involved in the Anand Sonbhadra (supra.) judgment was whether 90 year leases entered into between NOIDA and real estate companies give rise to a financial or operational debt in the event that corporate insolvency resolution proceedings are initiated against such real estate companies.Continue Reading NOIDA stands in the shoes of an operational creditor
A three judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its recent judgment dated April 27, 2022, in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited v. M/s Discovery Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. & Anr., while deciding on a challenge to an interim award on the ground that the arbitral tribunal failed to apply the group of companies doctrine, has held that a non-signatory company within a group of companies can be held bound to an arbitration agreement.Continue Reading Hon’ble Supreme Court Follows the International Regime: Upholds Group of Companies Doctrine in Arbitration
Upon commencement of the resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (Code), powers of the Board of Directors of the company stand suspended and are vested in and exercised by the resolution professional. While the directors are entitled to attend the meetings of the committee of creditors (COC) formed for the company, such directors have no voting rights.
A question arose over whether the directors should be given copies of the resolution plans and other confidential documents that the COC considers during the meetings. Sharing of such documents could be seen as in direct conflict with the obligations of the resolution professional to maintain confidentiality under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016 (CIRP Regulations) and other related regulations. More importantly, it could create positions of conflict between the suspended Board, who often submit resolution plans or are applicants under Section 12A, and the other participants. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in its recent judgment in Vijay Kumar Jain v. Standard Chartered Bank and Others has, with great respect, left some questions unanswered.
Continue Reading Supreme Court on the Rights of Suspended Board in Vijay Kumar Jain v. Standard Chartered Bank: Some Implications