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