Applicability of the 2015 Amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act

We have previously dealt with the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of BCCI v. Kochi[1] (see here and here) as well as the 2015 Amendments[2] to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act) and thereafter the 2019 Amendments[3] to the Act. Briefly recapped, the BCCI case read Section 26 to mean that the 2015 Amendments as a whole were to apply prospectively (meaning thereby that they would apply to arbitral proceedings commencing after October 23, 2015). However, as far as Section 36 (enforcement of a domestic award) of the principal Act was concerned, the 2015 Amendments applied retrospectively since the right to an “automatic stay” under Section 36 was not a vested one.

This meant that both in pending Section 34 petitions (filed prior to October 23, 2015) and in fresh Section 34 petitions, there would be no automatic stay of an award unless a separate application was made for such a stay, which the Court would have the discretion to grant or refuse and would also be premised on the posting of security.
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