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The “modification” conundrum: Sticking to the path of least interference – Part I

Introduction

In matters of arbitration, courts are ordinarily required to adopt a hands-off approach while scrutinizing arbitral awards. This jurisprudence has evolved to a point where minimal interference with awards is seemingly the principle guiding courts in India. Against this backdrop, the Supreme Court (“SC”) is going to consider the question whether the powers under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the “Act”), extend to the modification of arbitral awards or are limited only to the setting aside of arbitral awards. Central to this question is the role of the courts as envisaged under the Act.

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Fraud-Related Disputes Arbitrable: Bombay High Court

Arbitrability of a dispute is a key factor in any arbitration, as it establishes the jurisdictional reach of an arbitral tribunal. In Booze Allen and Hamilton Inc. v. SBI Home Finance Ltd.,[1] the Supreme Court stated that the disputes dealing with rights in personam are arbitrable, but those pertaining to rights in rem are not as they can affect the public.

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Unravelling the Distinction between ‘Reference to’ and ‘Incorporation of’ Arbitration Clauses

Introduction

While entering into a transaction, companies often invoke multiple standard terms from other agreements, instead of reproducing all applicable terms in a single contract. Such clauses are not set out in the main contract signed by the parties, but are instead found in separate, pre-existing documents that have been referred to in the main contract, by which the parties agree that the standard terms that have been mentioned, should be considered a part of the main contract. This practice enables faster and smoother implementation of contracts and allows some standard clauses to remain unchanged, thus providing greater certainty to business. However, if the arbitration clause itself is located in a secondary document, it might lead to a dispute (between the parties) regarding the appropriate dispute resolution procedure.

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Demystifying Deadline Dilemmas: Analysing the limitation period of Section 11(6) Petitions in Arbitral proceedings in India

INTRODUCTION

Superior courts in India have ratified the stringent deadlines for the various stages in arbitration proceedings, aiming to position India as an arbitration hub. However, it is crucial to establish safeguards to prevent delays in the adjudication process from discouraging the parties’ decision to engage in arbitration. The absence of a prescribed limitation period in certain key provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“A&C Act”), could be a contributing factor to some of these delays.

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Writ Jurisdiction over Arbitral Proceedings an ‘Exceptional Rarity’: Delhi High Court Reiterates

The Indian Constitution bestows upon the High Courts “extraordinary writ jurisdiction”. While Article 226 empowers Courts to protect and enforce fundamental as well legal rights, Article 227 confers on them the power of superintendence over all courts and tribunals within their jurisdiction.

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Final Word on Enforceability of Unstamped Arbitration Agreements

“It [law of arbitration] is to be expeditious where the law is slow, cheap where the law is costly, simple where the law is technical, a peacemaker instead of a stirrer-up of strife.”[1]

Are arbitration clauses in unstamped or inadequately stamped agreements enforceable? This is a question that has been under legal scrutiny and has seen conflicting views from various constitutional benches of the Supreme Court for over half a decade.

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Obviating Hurdles for Swifter Execution of Arbitral Awards

Context

In India, execution of decrees is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’), and execution of arbitration awards is governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘1996 Act’), and the CPC. For the purposes of enforcement, both domestic and foreign awards (recognition and enforcement thereof) are treated as decree of Court. This legal fiction also applies to consent awards, which are obtained after settlement is entered between parties. Domestic awards, which are basically India-seated arbitral awards, are governed by Part I of the 1996 Act, while foreign awards, which are foreign seated arbitral awards, are governed by Part II of the 1996 Act.

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Big win for PSBs: SC upholds arbitral award awarding damages for breach of substitution agreement, asks state agency to compensate lenders in full

The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide an order dated December 01, 2023, dismissed Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 19675 of 2023 (“SLP”), filed by Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (“HSIIDC”), a state government agency, against concurrent judgments of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, upholding an arbitral award rendered in favour of a consortium of public sector banks, led by IDBI Bank Limited (“Senior Lenders”). The Ld. arbitral tribunal, comprising Hon’ble Justice (Retd.) R M Lodha, former Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice (Retd.) K S P Radhakrishnan and Hon’ble Justice (Retd.) J Chelameswar (“Ld. Arbitral Tribunal”), finding favour with the case, pleaded on behalf of the Senior Lenders, awarded INR 1737.11 crore (plus additional interest and costs) as damages for HSIIDC’s breach of substitution agreement entered into between the Senior Lenders, HSIIDC and M/s KMP Expressways Limited, i.e. the concessionaire (“KMP”/ “Concessionaire”) (“Arbitral Award”).

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Can Directors Be Made Parties to Arbitration Proceedings Following the Underlying Rationale of Group of Companies Doctrine? Delhi High Court Explains

Introduction

Agreement to arbitrate – through a clause in a master or a separate agreement – forms the crux of arbitration. Processes like arbitration depend entirely on parties’ written consent to arbitration agreements. Great importance is attached to party autonomy – autonomie de la volonté.[1] This age-old principle continues to be at the centre of any arbitration agreement; however, ascertaining the consent of a party, more specifically a non-signatory party, to an arbitration agreement has been up for debate.

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Pending Section 37 Appeal under Arbitration Act: Not a Legitimate Ground for Entertaining Belated Claim under IBC

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the landmark RPS Infrastructure Ltd vs. Mukul Sharma[1] judgement, once again delved into the issue of claims being made beyond the statutorily prescribed timelines in a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (“CIRP”). In this case, an appeal under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”), was pending against a Section 34 award and the Appellant submitted a claim for the same subsequent to the committee of creditors (“COC”) approving the resolution plan.

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