Domestic Arbitration receives booster shot from Supreme Court

  

Recently, the Supreme Court in Quippo Construction Equipment Limited V. Janardan Nirman Private Limited[1] held that if a party to an arbitration agreement chooses not to participate in arbitral proceedings, that party is deemed to have waived the right to raise objections regarding jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal or the scope of its authority at a later stage. While dealing with objections to a domestic arbitral award, the Supreme Court also had occasion to comment on the perennial seat vs venue debate. In doing so, it inter alia observed that objections with respect to ‘place of arbitration’ may have significance in international commercial arbitrations (where the place of arbitration may determine which curial law would apply), but not so much in domestic arbitrations.
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SC refuses unilateral appointment of single arbitrator

Arbitration is a method of alternate dispute resolution wherein a third party is appointed for adjudication of disputes between the concerned parties. In such a scenario, preserving the sanctity of the judicial process becomes imperative. As arbitration requires adjudication on rights of the parties involved, principles of natural justice play a critical role in avoiding any potential risk of miscarriage of justice. The first principle of natural justice is ‘nemo judex in causa sua’, which means ‘no man can be a judge in his own cause’. This principle intends to avoid any ‘reasonable apprehension of bias’ that may arise during any judicial process.
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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.
Continue Reading Invoking Arbitration Agreements in Unstamped Documents – A Case Comment on Garware Wall Ropes v. Coastal Marine Constructions & Engineering

Seat Venue Place Order - Supreme Court of India

Last week, the Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Union of India v. Hardy Exploration and Production (India) Inc[1]. The much-anticipated decision attempts to provide clarity on the venue-seat conundrum in arbitration cases — cases where an arbitration agreement fails to specify the ‘seat’ of an arbitration but does specify a ‘venue’.
Continue Reading The Seat–Venue–Place Conundrum: Supreme Court Weighs In

The Law Commission of India’s report of August 2014 on the Indian Arbitration Act mentions that amendments are being suggested to the Arbitration Act to provide a “stable business environment and strong commitment to the rule of law, based on predictable and efficient systems of resolution of disputes.”

Amendments to the Indian Arbitration Act, 1996 were passed by both Houses of Parliament and assented to by the President on December 31, 2015. These amendments apply to all arbitral proceedings commenced on or after October 23, 2015 but parties can agree to even apply these amendments to proceedings commenced before the Amendment Act.


Continue Reading India and International Arbitration: Prospects