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

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


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

Section 34 - 4 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 – A fly in the ointment - Part I


The recourse available to a party seeking to challenge an arbitral award is provided for in Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the “Arbitration Act”). Section 34(2) of the Arbitration Act has undergone a few statutory amendments, and has been the subject of innumerable judgments, which highlight the contours within which a challenge to an arbitral award is available. Given that party autonomy and finality of awards are hallmarks of the arbitral process, both the Parliament as well as the judiciary have strived for minimal judicial interference with arbitral awards and arbitration proceedings. This has been done by tightening and limiting the scope and interpretation of the grounds available under Section 34(2) of the Arbitration Act.
Continue Reading Section 34(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 – A Fly in the Ointment? (Part I)