Photo of Shaneen Parikh

Partner in the Dispute Resolution Team at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Shaneen focuses on dispute resolution, including arbitration (both domestic and international), as well as corporate and commercial litigation. She has appeared in arbitrations, various regulatory forums and courts, including High Courts and the Supreme Court, across the country. Shaneen has also assisted a leading chamber of commerce in drafting its rules of arbitration, conciliation and mediation. She can be reached at shaneen.parikh@cyrilshroff.com

Another One Bites the Dust – domestic award set aside as being perverse

In what one hopes is not a bull run, one more arbitral award has been set aside by the Supreme Court. In SEAMEC v. Oil India Ltd., a domestic award was set aside on the basis that the contractual interpretation by the Arbitral Tribunal was perverse and completely defeated the explicit wordings and purpose of the contract.

In our last blog ‘Enforcement of Foreign Awards in India – Have the brakes been applied?’, we had discussed the Supreme Court judgment in NAFED v. Alimenta S.A.[1] In that case, the Supreme Court refused to enforce a foreign award on the basis that the transaction contemplated (export of HPS groundnuts) would have violated Indian law and was therefore contrary to the public policy of India. We had noted that in the face of a plethora of judicial decisions, the Apex Court had waded into an examination of the merits of the case and the terms of the relevant contract, something which Indian courts have repeatedly held are purely within the purview of the arbitrator’s power.
Continue Reading Another One Bites the Dust – Domestic Award Set Aside as Being Perverse

Enforcement of Foreign Awards in India – Have the brakes been applied

In NAFED v. Alimenta S.A.,[1] the Supreme Court held a foreign award to be unenforceable, on the basis that the transaction contemplated would have violated Indian law, and was therefore contrary to the public policy of India. 

The narrow scope of public policy:

Over the last decade, the judiciary and the legislature have been at pains to change the .existing judicial discourse and legislative intent to make India a regional hub for arbitration. A logical corollary has been a concerted effort to minimise judicial interference. Particularly in the context of foreign awards (where even after a ruling of enforceability, actual recovery may take years), Indian courts have to the most part, refused to interfere.
Continue Reading Enforcement of Foreign Awards in India – Have the Brakes been Applied?

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.
Continue Reading End Game – The Supreme Court Settles the Applicability of the 2015 Amendments

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.
Continue Reading The Saga Continues in 2019 – Applicability of the 2015 Amendments in light of the 2019 Amendments.

The Singapore Convention on Mediation 2019

The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Convention) was adopted by the United Nations on June 26, 2018 and opened for signature on August 7, 2019, with 46 countries affixing their signatures to what is intended be a game changer in the alternate dispute resolution space.

The use of mediation has grown, particularly because it is cheaper than international arbitration (which is now being criticised for the very evils it was created to avoid, i.e. costs and complexity), and also because it is more likely to preserve commercial relationships.  These benefits are recognised in the Preamble to the Convention, reflecting the hope that the enforceability of international commercial settlement agreements  would facilitate efficient administration of justice by States, and also contribute to the development of harmonious international economic relations.
Continue Reading The Singapore Convention on Mediation – India’s Pro-enforcement Run Continues

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]
Continue Reading How the Penny Drops– An Examination of the Bombay High Court’s New Rules on Arbitral Tribunal Fees

Seat Venue Place Order - Supreme Court of India

Last week, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Union of India v. Hardy Exploration and Production (India) Inc[1]. The much-anticipated decision attempts to provide clarity on the venue-seat conundrum in arbitration cases — cases where an arbitration agreement fails to specify the ‘seat’ of an arbitration but does specify a ‘venue’.
Continue Reading The Seat–Venue–Place Conundrum: Supreme Court Weighs In

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.
Continue Reading Transfer of Proceedings from Courts to NCLT: The Calcutta High Court’s View

The Union Cabinet recently issued a press release for the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (“2018 Bill”). The amendments which, when passed will apply to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) are pursuant to the Srikrishna Committee Report[1] released in July, 2017 (“Report”), recommending further amendments on the back of the 2015 amendments, primarily to improve on or clarify various provisions.

Key amendments approved include the following:

  • Arbitration Council of India

The Report recommended the creation of an independent body to accredit arbitral institutions and arbitrators as a number of stakeholders interviewed were disenchanted with the existing arbitral facilities in India. The recommendation has been accepted and an independent body will be set up, namely, the Arbitration Council of India to enable formal evaluation and accreditation. This Council will frame norms for alternate dispute resolution and evolve professional guidelines. This is a positive step to ensure the quality of arbitral institutions. Though India has several arbitral institutions, few apart from the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration are recognized as having the expertise to administer multi-party international arbitrations.


Continue Reading The Supreme Court on the 2015 Amendments and the Cabinet on the 2018 Arbitration Amendments – Good for India?

Image credit: Scroll.in, September 26, 2017

This is the fourth blog piece in our series entitled “Those Were the Days”, which is published monthly. We hope you enjoy reading this as much as we have enjoyed putting this together.


The world is becoming corporatised, and the time of the business owner living over his little shop are well-nigh over. The world is also becoming smaller and, as it does, a business’s reach spreads across multiple jurisdictions and through multiple subsidiary or group companies.

In this age of corporatisation, most jurisdictions recognise the concept of a company as a separate juristic person, with an identity distinct and independent of its shareholders, members or directors. This corporate existence separates a company’s identity from that of its promoters or shareholders. It enables the company to contract in its own name, with its shareholders and third parties, to acquire and hold property in its own name, and to sue and be sued in its own name. A company has perpetual succession; its life is not co-dependent with that of its shareholders and it remains in existence irrespective of any change in its members, until it is dissolved by liquidation. The shareholders of a company are not identified with the company and cannot be held personally liable for acts undertaken by, or liabilities of, the company.

This independence or distinction is not a new concept. In the late 19th Century, the judgment in the classic case of Salomon v. Salomon[1] was passed, ruling that a company is a separate legal entity distinct from its members and so insulating Mr. Salomon, the founder of A. Salomon and Company, Ltd., from personal liability to the creditors of the company he founded.


Continue Reading LIC v. Escorts and Beyond – Lifting the Corporate Veil