Scope of judicial interference

Introduction

There are only a few sections in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 2016 (“Act”), in which Court’s reference or assistance is invited post commencement of arbitration and constitution of the arbitral tribunal.


Continue Reading Scope of judicial interference – Order passed by an Arbitral Tribunal under Section 27 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996

Supreme court draws lakshman rekha on powers of a court under section 34: no power to modify an award

  1. The Supreme Court handed down a significant judgment[1] on the scope of power of a Court hearing a challenge to an arbitral award under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”). The Supreme Court reiterated that there is no power under Section 34 to modify or vary an arbitral award.


Continue Reading Supreme court draws lakshman rekha on powers of a court under section 34: No power to modify an award

Indian Courts continue with the pro-enforcement approach

INTRODUCTION

1. On June 18, 2021, the Delhi High Court, in proceedings seeking enforcement of arbitral awards against foreign states, has reiterated the principle of restrictive immunity and upheld the basic tenets of International Commercial Arbitration – flexibility, stability, efficiency, and its legally binding nature. The Court held that prior consent of the Central Government under Section 86 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“Code”), is not required for enforcement of arbitral awards against a foreign state. Importantly, it also held that foreign state cannot claim sovereign immunity for the purpose of stalling enforcement of an arbitral award rendered against it, and which arises out of a commercial transaction.


Continue Reading Indian Courts continue with the pro-enforcement approach: Delhi HC reiterates principle of restrictive immunity in enforcement of arbitral awards against foreign states

How Much is Too Much - Supreme Court on Scope of Examination of Arbitration Agreement at Pre-Arbitral Stage

When faced with a suit or proceeding in any court or tribunal when there is an arbitration clause in the agreement, Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), empowers a judicial authority to refer parties to arbitration, thereby honouring the parties’ (pre-dispute) bargain. The Law Commission of India, in its 246th report, recommended amendments to Sections 8 and 11(6A)[1] of the Arbitration Act, with the intent to restrict the scope of judicial intervention at the pre-arbitral stage only to prima facie determine whether an arbitration agreement exists, thereby making it imperative for such judicial authority to refer the parties to arbitration, leaving the final determination of the existence and validity of an arbitration agreement to the arbitral tribunal under Section 16.
Continue Reading How Much is Too Much? Supreme Court on Scope of Examination of Arbitration Agreement at Pre-Arbitral Stage

Supreme court reiterates that courts DO not sit in appeal over an award passed by an arbitrator

INTRODUCTION:

Recently, in NTPC v. M/s Deconar Services Pvt. Ltd.[1], a three judge bench of the Supreme Court has, in line with the settled principle of minimum interference in arbitral awards, inter alia reiterated that in order to succeed in a challenge against an arbitral award, the party challenging the award must show that the arbitrator’s award suffered from perversity; or an error of law; or that the arbitrator had otherwise misconducted himself. The Court highlighted that merely showing that there is another reasonable interpretation or possible view on the basis of the material on record is insufficient to allow interference by the Court.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Reiterates that Courts Do Not Sit in Appeal over an Award passed by an Arbitrator

All Orders terminating proceedings are not Awards - Delhi HC sets the record straight

The issue of whether simplicitor orders terminating an arbitral proceeding is an award under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”), has been a question that has been plaguing various Courts in India for a while now. The issue is crucial in nature, as it determines the remedy of a party aggrieved by such an order. While some Courts have taken the view that such an order is an award appealable under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, others have not. This ambiguity is a cause of concern for litigants since it delays the entire time bound arbitral process intended under the Arbitration Act and leaves the litigant in a lurch. However, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi (“Delhi HC”) in PCL SUNCON v National Highway Authority of India[1] (“PCL SUNCON Case”) has addressed this issue and cleared the said ambiguity to a great extent.
Continue Reading All Orders terminating proceedings are not Awards: Delhi HC sets the record straight

 Supreme Court Clarifies Law On Limitation Period For Filing An Appeal Under Section 37 Of The Arbitration Act

INTRODUCTION:

The Supreme Court in the case of Government of Maharashtra (Water Resources Department) Represented by Executive Engineer v. M/s Borse Brothers Engineers & Contractors Pvt. Ltd.[1] has inter alia set right the law regarding the period of limitation for condonation of delay in filing appeals under Section 37[2] of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”). Overruling its earlier decision in N.V. International v. State of Assam[3] (“N.V. International”) and emphasising the central object of speedy disposal of disputes sought to be achieved by the Arbitration Act and the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (“Commercial Courts Act”), the Court has allowed condonation of only ‘short delays’, setting out strict parameters for permitting the same.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Clarifies Law on Limitation Period for Filing an Appeal under Section 37 of The Arbitration Act

Supreme Court Revisits the Venue – Seat Issue 

Introduction:

A division bench of the Supreme Court in M/s Inox Renewables Ltd. v. Jayesh Electricals Ltd.[1] has recently reiterated the decision in BSG SGS SOMA JV vs. NHPC Limited[2], equating the juridical concepts of seat and venue. In this regard, the Court has clarified that a shift in venue by mutual agreement between the parties would be tantamount to a shifting of the place/ seat of arbitration.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Revisits the Venue – Seat Issue

Does NCLT has power to refer parties to Arbitration in an in rem insolvency proceeding

The conflict between Insolvency and Arbitration is almost of near polar extremes. The difference in focus of the two was well illustrated in Re United States Lines Inc[1] as a:

“… conflict of near polar extremes: bankruptcy policy exerts an inexorable pull towards centralization while arbitration policy advocates a decentralized approach towards dispute resolution”.

Thus, while insolvency/ bankruptcy aims to centralise all the proceedings against a debtor to one jurisdiction and give rise to a proceeding in rem (against the world at large) thereby creating third party rights for all creditors of the debtor, arbitration on the other hand advocates a decentralised approach and promotes party autonomy in dispute resolution resulting in a proceeding in personam (against a particular person).
Continue Reading Does NCLT has power to refer parties to Arbitration in an in rem insolvency proceeding?

 Dispute mechanism available under a lease

How it started:

It started with the case of Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc v. SBI Home Finance Ltd & Others (“Booz-Allen”), wherein the Supreme Court, after hearing the matter, held that the disputes relating to eviction and tenancy were not arbitrable. Leases are governed under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (“TOPA”). The court discussed the nature and scope of issues arising for consideration in an application under Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (“Act”) wherein “even if there is an arbitration agreement between the parties, and even if the dispute is covered by the arbitration agreement, the court where the civil suit is pending, will refuse an application under Section 8 of the Act, to refer the parties to arbitration, if the subject matter of the suit is capable of adjudication only by a public forum or the relief claimed can only be granted by a special court or Tribunal”.
Continue Reading Dispute mechanism available under a lease