International Regime

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.[1], 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

Arbitral Award

I. Introduction

One of the quintessential features of an arbitration friendly jurisdiction is a robust award enforcement mechanism. Often such enforcement mechanisms are determined by the interpretation of ‘public policy’ of each jurisdiction. In India, the trajectory of public policy has witnessed dramatic advancements, resulting in a much narrower scope and ambit of interpretation. Consequently, Indian courts have adopted a pro-enforcement stance and this pattern can be observed even in the arbitral awards that have been passed in disputes relating to exchange control laws and securities regulations.

Continue Reading Enforcement of a Foreign Arbitral Award: Calcutta High Court Contextualises Fundamental Policy of Indian Law

Arbitration

An arbitrator is a creature of a contract and is, therefore, equally bound by it. The Supreme Court, in the recent judgement of Union of India vs. Manraj Enterprises[i], set aside an arbitral award wherein the arbitrator had awarded pendente lite and future interest on the amount awarded, inspite of a contractual bar. The Court, relying upon a catena of judgments dealing with the inherent powers of an arbitrator to award pendente lite and future interest under Section 31(7) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the 1996 Act), held that such powers are exercisable only in the absence of an agreement to the contrary.

Continue Reading The Power to Grant Interest Pendente Lite – Arbitrator Bound by the Agreement Between the Parties: The Supreme Court Reiterates

JV Company’s Board

Background

The fiduciary relationship between a director and the company is among the foremost principles of company law, which was first enshrined by common law courts of equity. The Supreme Court of India (“SC”) first recognised this common law principle in its celebrated judgment in the Nanalal Zaver case[1], which noted that directors can be considered as “trustees” of the company, and “must exercise their powers for the benefit of the company and for that alone”.[2]

Continue Reading Dilemma of a Nominee Director on the JV Company’s Board – Is there a conflict in his fiduciary duties?

Arbitration

INTRODUCTION

Recently, in the case of Gyan Prakash Arya vs. Titan Industries Limited[1], the Supreme Court enunciated the limited scope of an arbitral tribunal’s power under Section 33 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the Act). The Court has authoritatively clarified that such power can only be exercised to correct clerical and/or arithmetic errors (and errors of similar nature).

Continue Reading The Supreme Court Clarifies: The Power Under Section 33 is Limited to Rectifying Clerical/ Arithmetical Errors

Dispute

The Supreme Court of India in Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. v. M/s. Shree Ganesh Petroleum Rajgurunagar,[1] recently ruled that an award enhancing the rent payable under a separate agreement was liable to be set aside under Section 34(2)(a)(iv) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”), on the basis that the award was based on a dispute beyond the scope of submission to arbitration. The theme of what would be within the province of a tribunal or otherwise has often been the subject matter of challenges. For example, in Satyanarayana Construction Company v. Union of India & Others[2], the Supreme Court ruled that if the underlying contract fixed a rate of interest, an arbitrator could not rewrite its terms and award a higher rate.

Continue Reading Indian Oil Corporation v. Shree Ganesh Petroleum: An arbitral tribunal’s powers to do justice are circumscribed by contract

Arbitration

Post the 2015 Amendment, the powers of the Arbitral Tribunal under Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), are at par with and akin to the powers of the Court under Section 9 of the Act. Whilst the non-filing of the Statement of Claim did not serve as an impediment to the Courts granting interim reliefs under Section 9, the question on whether an Arbitral Tribunal is empowered to grant interim reliefs under Section 17 in the absence of a Statement of Claim remained unclear.

Continue Reading Statement of Claim not sine qua non to Filing an Application under Section 17

Arbitration Agreement

Background

Kompetenz-kompetenz, allowing the arbitral tribunal to rule on its own jurisdiction, is one of the fundamental principles of arbitration. In Indian arbitration law, this is captured in Section 16 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”). This is further emphasised in Indian Farmer Fertilizer Cooperative Limited v. Bhadara Products (2018) 2 SCC 534 (“IFFCO Judgment”), wherein the Supreme Court has held that ‘jurisdiction’ mentioned in Section 16 has reference to three things: (1) existence of a valid arbitration agreement, (2) whether arbitral tribunal is properly constituted and (3) whether matters submitted to arbitration are in accordance with the arbitration agreement. Clearly, the existence of a valid arbitration agreement falls within the scope of jurisdictional matters to be determined by the arbitral tribunal.

Continue Reading Scope of Scrutiny of An Arbitration Agreement in a Section 9 Petition Filed before Commencement of Arbitral Proceedings

TIME IS THE ESSENCE OF THIS CONTRACT - IS IT REALLY

INTRODUCTION

Negotiated, as also standard format contracts, are rife with clauses proclaiming time is of the essence. Parties are usually rest assured after spelling this out, hoping (nay assured) that such words employed would by themselves be adequate to enforce rights through a Court or an arbitral process. Sadly, mere words are usually never enough.

The Supreme Court, in the recent judgement of Welspun Specialty Solution Limited vs. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.[i], has reiterated the principles basis which Courts are required to construe whether time is of the essence of a contract. The Court held that a collective reading of the entire contract and its surrounding circumstances is imperative to come to such a conclusion. Merely having an explicit clause in the contract may not be sufficient to make time the essence of it. The Court also held that the availability of extension procedures to fulfil obligations under a contract, along with consequent imposition of liquidated damages, are good indicators to hold that time is not of the essence.
Continue Reading Time is the Essence of this Contract: Is it Really?

Arbitral Tribunal

INTRODUCTION

Recently, in the case of Godrej Properties Ltd. v. Goldbricks Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.[i], the Hon’ble Bombay High Court has held that an arbitral tribunal cannot pass ex-parte orders on the mere filing of an Application under Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the Act) without giving the parties an opportunity to be heard. The Court has further distinguished the powers of an arbitral tribunal to pass interim orders under the Act from those enjoyed by a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC).

Continue Reading Parties to be Given an Advance Notice of Hearing – The Bombay High Court Sets Aside an Ex-Parte Order Passed by the Arbitral Tribunal