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.


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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.
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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.
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 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.
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This Is the End - What Now The Aftermath of an Award being Set Aside

There is scarcely any aspect of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), which has not seen the spectre of ad nauseum arguments and judicial pronouncements. Concepts have been devised, lauded, followed, and then set aside. Lawyers have forcefully argued for awards to be set aside, and Courts have assiduously upheld the essence and spirit of the concept of arbitration. The law has been set, and then upturned, and in this entire process, not much judicial/ legislative light seems to have fallen on the protagonist of this piece. The Act only hints at what happens after an award is set aside, and the ‘hint’ paints a somewhat grim picture. 
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LIMITATION PERIOD FOR FILING A SECTION 34 PETITION BEGINS FROM THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF THE SIGNED COPY OF THE ARBITRAL AWARD

Introduction:

Recently, a division bench of the Supreme Court in Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd. V. M/s Navigant Technologies Pvt. Ltd.[1] has inter alia (i) clarified when the limitation period for challenging an arbitral award under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”) commences; (ii) discussed the legal requirement and significance of an award being signed; and (iii) highlighted the relevance of dissenting opinions in arbitration proceedings. The Court has also made observations on what happens to the underlying disputes between the parties after an award is set aside.
Continue Reading Limitation period for filing a Section 34 Petition begins from the Date of Receipt of the Signed Copy of the Arbitral Award

Invoking Arbitration Agreements in Unstamped Documents – Course Correction from the Garware Wall Ropes’ Judgment 

 

What happened in the Garware Wall Ropes’ Judgment?

In our earlier article,[1] we had discussed the decision of the Supreme Court in Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. v. Coastal Marine Construction & Engineering Ltd. (“Garware Judgment”).[2] We had remarked that much was left to be done to strike a balance between arbitration law, stamping law and the equitable rights of litigants. We had analysed how the Garware Judgment took a narrow view on invoking arbitration agreements in unstamped documents, in holding that an arbitration could not be invoked in case of an arbitration agreement forming a part of an unstamped document, until the defect of non-stamping was rectified. It held that before proceeding under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”), the Court ought to impound the document and send it for collection of stamp duty dues. This also meant that neither the parties, nor the Court could appoint an arbitrator till the requisite stamp duty was paid.
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WRITS AGAINST ORDERS PASSED BY ARBITRAL TRIBUNALS – THE SUPREME COURT REITERATES THE LAW SMM

 Introduction

Recently, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Bhaven Construction v. Executive Engineer Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. and Anr[1] has observed that the High Courts’ power of interference under Articles 226[2] and 227[3] of the Constitution of India (“Constitution”), in the context of arbitral proceedings, may be exercised in ‘exceptional rarity’. Clarifying the term ‘exceptional rarity’, the Court pointed out that such interference would be warranted only in cases wherein a party is left remediless under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”) or clear bad faith is shown by one of the parties.
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The Supreme Court Revisits the Consequences of Non-Payment of Stamp Duty on the Arbitration Agreement – Part I

In Part I of this post, we discussed the findings of the Court on the issue of separability of arbitration agreements from the underlying contract and the corresponding validity of arbitration agreements in unstamped agreements. In this part, we will analyse the findings of the Court with respect to arbitrability of disputes involving fraud; and