Photo of Shalaka Patil

Principal Associate with the dispute resolution team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Shalaka has worked in matters involving shareholders’ disputes, cross-border investments, investor-promoter disputes, disputes in the healthcare, infrastructure, oil and gas and energy sectors. She can be reached at shalaka.patil@cyrilshroff.com

Applicability of the 2015 Amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act

We have previously dealt with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of BCCI v. Kochi[1] (see here and here) as well as the 2015 Amendments[2] to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act) and thereafter the 2019 Amendments[3] to the Act. Briefly recapped, the BCCI case read Section 26 to mean that the 2015 Amendments as a whole were to apply prospectively (meaning thereby that they would apply to arbitral proceedings commencing after October 23, 2015). However, as far as Section 36 (enforcement of a domestic award) of the principal Act was concerned, the 2015 Amendments applied retrospectively since the right to an “automatic stay” under Section 36 was not a vested one.

This meant that both in pending Section 34 petitions (filed prior to October 23, 2015) and in fresh Section 34 petitions, there would be no automatic stay of an award unless a separate application was made for such a stay, which the Court would have the discretion to grant or refuse and would also be premised on the posting of security.
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Applicability of the 2015 and 2019 Amendments - arbitration and conciliation act

Readers may recall our earlier blog published here, where we discussed the Supreme Court’s decision of BCCI v. Kochi Cricket[1] dealing with the date of coming into force of the amendments that were made to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 (“2015 Amendments”). We also briefly discussed the position as set out in the then tabled, proposed 2018 amendments to the Act.

Briefly recapped, in BCCI, the Supreme Court ruled that generally the 2015 Amendments applied prospectively. However, it dealt with the issue slightly differently insofar as Section 36 was concerned. Section 36 of the Act prior to the 2015 amendments provided that if the time for making an application challenging an award had expired or if a challenge application had been made and refused, the award could be enforced. This implied an automatic stay against enforcement. The 2015 Amendments took away the automatic stay and instead stated that the mere filing of a challenge application under Section 34 against the award will not render the award unenforceable, unless the Court grants a stay against enforcement on a separate application being made.
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Bombay High Court’s New Rules on Arbitral Tribunal Fees

The provisions for appointment of an arbitrator, under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act), underwent a sea change with the 2015 amendments. A notable amendment was in relation to setting fees for arbitrators appointed by a court under the Act, for the purpose of which, the new Section 11 (14) and Fourth Schedule were introduced.

Under these provisions and for the purpose of determination of the fees of the arbitral tribunal and the manner of their payment, the High Court was empowered to frame such rules as may be necessary, after taking into consideration the rates specified in the Fourth Schedule.

Years after the amendments kicked in (on and from October 23, 2015), the Bombay High Court issued the Bombay High Court (Fee Payable to Arbitrators) Rules, 2018, pursuant to Section 11 (14) and the Fourth Schedule (the Rules).[1]
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Transfer of Proceedings from Courts to NCLT: The Calcutta High Court’s View

A question that has often come up since the Companies Act, 2013 (the 2013 Act) came into force is how will proceedings ongoing before the High Courts be transferred to the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT)? Section 434(1)(c) of the 2013 Act deals with transfer of “all proceedings” under the Companies Act, 1956[1] to the NCLT. For winding up proceedings, this provision states that only such proceedings relating to winding up, which are at a certain stage as prescribed by central Government, are to be transferred to the NCLT. Another part of this provision, meanwhile, deals with cases other than winding up proceedings, which may not be transferred to the NCLT.[2] A reading of all the various provisions leads to the conclusion that not all proceedings under the 1956 Act pending before the District Courts and High Courts are to be transferred to the NCLT.
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