Code of Civil Procedure 1908

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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National Green Tribunanal Act and Real Estate

The first part of this two-part blog discussed the facts that led to the filing of appeals before the Supreme Court challenging the NGT’s judgment dated May 4, 2016 and certain key issues discussed by the Supreme Court in its Judgment disposing of these appeals. In this piece, the second part of the two-part blog, we discuss other significant issues that have been dealt with in the Judgment and analyse the findings to deduce the reasoning employed by the Supreme Court in reaching its decision.
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Supreme Court’s Diktat on Powers of the NGT: Can Developers Finally Rest Easy?

Introduction

The Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi (NGT), vide the judgment dated May 4, 2016 in the Original Application No. 222 of 2014 (Original Application), passed certain orders, which had wide scale impact on the real estate developers in the city of Bengaluru. The NGT directed that the buffer zones maintained around lakes and rajakaluves (drains) were to be increased substantially more than provided under the zoning regulations in the Revised Master Plan 2015 (RMP 2015). The RMP 2015 provided for buffer zones of 30 meters from the centre of the lake, for primary rajakaluves it was 50 meters from the centre of the rajakaluve, for secondary rajakaluves, it was fixed at 25 meters and for tertiary rajakaluve it was 15 meters. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court) has recently passed a judgment in Civil Appeal No. 5016 of 2016 and other connected appeals on March 5, 2019 (Judgment). These appeals were filed challenging the NGT’s judgment dated May 4, 2016.

In this first part of a two-part blog, we discuss the facts that led to filing of the present appeals before the Supreme Court and a couple of key issues discussed in the Judgment.
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