Arbitration Agreements in Unstamped Documents

Introduction

There has been constant confusion with respect to admissibility of unstamped documents. Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (“Stamp Act”), provides that an unstamped or inadequately stamped document is inadmissible in evidence. Applying Section 35 of the Stamp Act, the Supreme Court in Garware Wall Ropes Ltd v. Coastal Marine Construction & Engineering Ltd [1](“Garware Judgement”) held that an arbitration agreement contained in an unstamped contract cannot be taken in evidence and invoked. It was further held that, in case the Court is faced with an unstamped document, it must proceed to impound the same, in accordance with the provisions of the Stamp Act; only once such an impounding is done — the deficit stamp duty and penalty paid, can the Court proceed on the basis of the arbitration agreement.
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Good Faith Negotiations and Mediation 

It has become increasingly common for parties to adopt multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses in agreements. A typical multi-tiered dispute-resolution clause requires parties to first attempt to resolve a dispute amicably – for instance, by engaging in friendly discussions, submitting to mediation or undertaking good faith negotiations – before the commencement of arbitration proceedings. There has been much ado about the enforceability of such clauses and whether they should be considered void due to vagueness: how does one engage in “friendly discussions”, and what exactly are “good faith negotiations”, when a presumably acrimonious dispute has already arisen between parties?

Despite this ambiguity, courts have increasingly found tiered dispute-resolution clauses to be enforceable. In fact, with a view to combat rising pendency in courts, these principles have been extended to the initiation of litigation as well. The Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (CCA) was amended last year to state that any suit that does not contemplate urgent interim relief cannot be instituted without the plaintiff having exhausted the remedy of pre-institution mediation and settlement.[1] A similar model is also followed in a number of other countries, including the UK, Italy, Greece and Turkey, where it has been successful in encouraging dispute resolution through mediation.[2]
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Finance Act 2019 - Prevention of Money Laundering Act Amendment

The Finance Act, 2019 (the 2019 Act) is the Central Government’s endeavour to tighten the gaps around the existing provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). Amidst the growing number of financial crimes and high-profile cases, the 2019 Act attempts to make the existing provisions stricter and better armoured to detect suspicious transactions. Additionally, the Act, along with the other amendments, has a greater aim of targeting money laundering and terrorist financing. The 2019 Act attempts to remove the ambiguity in the existing provisions by amending eight clauses of the PMLA.
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Extradition Law - Fundamentals and Processes

Part I of the article elaborates on legal basis and purpose extradition, the procedure and the statutory provisions of Indian Extradition Act, 1962 as well as the key aspects of the extradition treaty between India and the UK. Here we will discuss the extradition treaties between India and the US, India and UAE. This post further elaborates on the practice of non-extradition of own nationals and various issues that may be faced by States whilst processing a request for extradition.

Extradition Treaty Between India & the United States (US)

The offence is extraditable if punishable under the laws in both contracting parties by imprisonments for more than one year or by a more severe penalty. This applies:
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Indian Extradition Law - Fundamentals and Processes - Part 1

 

Under International law, extradition[i] is a formal, diplomatic process by which one state requests another to effect the return of custody of a fugitive criminal[ii] for crimes punishable by the laws of the requesting State and committed outside the jurisdiction of the country where such person has taken refuge. International extradition[iii] is an obligation undertaken by States in good faith to promote and execute justice[iv].

The first formal act providing for extradition was adopted in 1833 by Belgium, which also passed the first law on the right to asylum. Extradition Acts not only specify extraditable crimes, but also detail procedures and safeguards whilst defining the relationship between the Act and the treaty.
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US Sanctions on Iran and their Impact on India

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against foreign countries, regimes, terrorists, and similar forces that are engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other acts that may be considered as threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States of America (US).

The nature of sanctions imposed by the US is two pronged, i.e. Primary and Secondary.  Primary sanctions are in the nature of asset freezing, trade embargos, and a prohibition on US citizens and companies from engaging with Iran. Secondary sanctions place an embargo on third-party countries, its citizens and companies with no nexus to the US, for dealing with sanctioned countries. Secondary sanctions are invariably extra-territorial in nature and raise important questions about legitimacy, international law principles, and the concept of sovereignty.
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Social media code of conduct and ethics - election commission of India

The 2014 General Elections saw a new kind of election campaigning. Far removed from the dusty rallies, a considerable part of the campaigning took place online. Political parties employed big data analytics to crunch user information of nearly 100 million Indian social media users and used it to their advantage in campaigning.

Political parties’ major portion of campaigning was done by PR executives sitting on computers, in addition to the proactive Twitter accounts of their leaders. A study estimated that around Rs. 300-400 crores were spent by the political parties for their publicity and campaigns on social and digital media in 2014.
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Court of Arbitration for Art - CAFA II

For Art’s Sake: The Court of Arbitration for Art – Part I looked at the history of art disputes and the introduction of the Court of Arbitration for Art and how it solves the issues of adjudication faced in art disputes.

Part – II elaborates on the Procedure that will be followed by the Court of Arbitration for Art and what this development means for the Indian art industry.

How CAfA helps

It is essential in cases involving art disputes that there is a regime to govern and decide the disputes that may arise in the course of such sale purchases, mainly concerning the authenticity of the artworks, their valuation, instances of art fraud, cases of stolen art, chain of title disputes, contract, as well as copyright issues. Although, “art” in the broad sense of the term includes music, film, theatre, literature, et cetera, the scope of CafA is likely to adjudicate on disputes regarding fine arts and/or visual arts.
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Court of Arbitration for Art - CAFA

Consider this: you purchased a rare Jackson Pollock painting from a prestigious auction house’s website, the auction house even provided you with a “Certificate of Authenticity”. However, an expert on Jackson Pollock remarks that the painting may be a copy/ a very public dispute ensues, not only questioning the value and authenticity of the painting, but also the reputation of the auction house. While the Courts hear the dispute, the value of the painting is affected by the controversy, its authenticity ever a subject of debate and given the bad publicity from the litigation; the million-dollar Jackson Pollock’s value is now diminished greatly.

What the Court of Arbitration of Art (CAfA) is All About

Established in June 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Art (the “Court” or “CAfA”) operates as a specialised arbitration and mediation tribunal for resolving art disputes. CAfA intends to undertake proceedings at a global level, addressing matters such as art authentication, contract and chain of title disputes, copyright, and moral rights, to name a few. The importance of this Court stems from problems often associated with judicially-administered art disputes, particularly pertaining to evidence and the art industry’s difficulty in accepting judgements pronounced by national courts, due to lack of expertise in the field. CAfA aims to resolve these issues by providing an arbitral tribunal comprising of art experts, rendering awards or results based on sound knowledge and extensive experience.
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By utilising its powers under Article 142 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court of India has delivered an unprecedented decision on August 09, 2018 in Chitra Sharma & Ors. v. Union of India and Ors[1]., and other connected matters (the Jaypee / homebuyers Case)[2]. In this era of evolving jurisprudence on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), the Supreme Court, by this landmark decision, has settled some highly debated issues with respect to its implementation and has provided much required certainty. This has been achieved by the Supreme Court paving the way to reset the clock by re-commencing the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP).

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