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WHETHER UNSTAMPED ARBITRATION AGREEMENT IS EXECUTABLE? THE CONCEPT OF SEPARABILITY OF THE ARBITRATION CLAUSE/AGREEMENT FROM THE UNDERLYING CONTRACT

September 14, 2021

Here we will discuss the following issues: (i) Whether an arbitration agreement contained in an unregistered (but compulsorily registrable) instrument is valid and enforceable? (ii) Whether an arbitration agreement in an unregistered instrument which is not duly stamped, is valid and enforceable? (iii) Whether there is an arbitration agreement between the parties and whether an Arbitrator should be appointed? What is an Arbitration Agreement? Its provided in Section 7 of the Arbitration Act, 1996. It reads as under: Arbitration agreement.—(1) In this Part, “arbitration agreement” means an agreement by the parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship, whether contractual or not. (2) An arbitration agreement may be in the form of an arbitration clause in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement. (3) An arbitration agreement shall be in writing. (4) An arbitration agreement is in writing if it is contained in— (a) a document signed by the parties; (b) exchange of letters, telex, telegrams or other means of telecommunication 1 [including communication through electronic means] which provide a record of the agreement; or (c) an exchange of statements of claim and defense in which the existence of the agreement is alleged by one party and not denied by the other. (5) The reference in a contract to a document containing an arbitration clause constitutes an arbitration agreement if the contract is in writing and the reference is such as to make that arbitration clause part of the contract. Section 17 of Registration Act provides for compulsory Registration: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/561156/ ( click on the link for detailed provision.) Section 49 of the said Act lays down the effect of the non-registration of documents. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1768154/ ( click on the link for detailed provision.) Section 49 makes it clear that a document which is compulsorily registrable, if not registered, will not affect the immovable property comprised therein in any manner. It will also not be received as evidence of any transaction affecting such property, except for two limited purposes. First is as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance. The second is as evidence of any collateral transaction which by itself is not required to be effected by a registered instrument. A collateral transaction is not the transaction affecting the immovable property, but a transaction which is incidentally connected with that transaction. The question is whether a provision for arbitration in an unregistered document (which is compulsorily registrable) is a collateral transaction, in respect of which such unregistered document can be received as evidence under the proviso to section 49 of the Registration Act. English Law Views on distinct identity and separation of Arbitration Clause: Lord Wright in his opinion stated that: “An arbitration agreement is a collateral to the substantial stipulations of the contract. It is merely procedural and ancillary, it is a mode of settling disputes, though the agreement to do so is itself subject to the discretion of the court.” Lord MacMillan in his opinion stated that “It survives for the purpose of measuring the claims […]

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UNDER INDIAN LAW ONLY SIGNATORIES TO THE AGREEMENT INVARIABLY PROPER PARTIES TO THE ARBITRATION AGREEMENT? DOES INTERNATIONAL PRINCIPLES  OF “GROUP OF COMPANIES” APPLY TO INDIAN ARBITRATION ?

September 11, 2021

Provisions of Law discussed: Now let us first see what does Act mean by an Agreement and what is format of an Arbitration Agreement? Arbitration Act,1996 7 Arbitration agreement. — (1) In this Part, “arbitration agreement” means an agreement by the parties to submit to arbitration all or certain disputes which have arisen or which may arise between them in respect of a defined legal relationship, whether contractual or not. (2) An arbitration agreement may be in the form of an arbitration clause in a contract or in the form of a separate agreement. (3) An arbitration agreement shall be in writing. (4) An arbitration agreement is in writing if it is contained in— (a) a document signed by the parties; (b) an exchange of letters, telex, telegrams or other means of telecommunication which provide a record of the agreement; or (c) an exchange of statements of claim and defence in which the existence of the agreement is alleged by one party and not denied by the other. (5) The reference in a contract to a document containing an arbitration clause constitutes an arbitration agreement if the contract is in writing and the reference is such as to make that arbitration clause part of the contract. PARITIES TO ARBITRATION: 8.Power to refer parties to arbitration where there is an arbitration agreement.—1 [(1)A judicial authority, before which an action is brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party to the arbitration agreement or any person claiming through or under him, so applies not later than the date of submitting his first statement on the substance of the dispute, then, notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of the Supreme Court or any Court, refer the parties to arbitration unless it finds that prima facie no valid arbitration agreement exists.] (2) The application referred to in sub-section (1) shall not be entertained unless it is accompanied by the original arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy thereof: 2 [Provided that where the original arbitration agreement or a certified copy thereof is not available with the party applying for reference to arbitration under sub-section (1), and the said agreement or certified copy is retained by the other party to that agreement, then, the party so applying shall file such application along with a copy of the arbitration agreement and a petition praying the Court to call upon the other party to produce the original arbitration agreement or its duly certified copy before that Court.] (3) Notwithstanding that an application has been made under sub-section (1) and that the issue is pending before the judicial authority, an arbitration may be commenced or continued and an arbitral award made. PART II ENFORCEMENT OF CERTAIN FOREIGN AWARDS CHAPTER I  New York Convention Awards Power of judicial authority to refer parties to arbitration.—Notwithstanding anything contained in Part I or in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908),a judicial authority, when seized of an action in a matter in respect of which the parties have made an agreement referred to in section 44, shall, at the request of one […]

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EMERGENCY ARBITRATION, WHETHER VALID IN INDIA UNDER ARBITRATION ACT,1996?

September 9, 2021

This interesting issue came up before Delhi High Court in Amazon.Com Nv Investment vs Future Coupons Private Limited & ors passed on 18 March, 2021 Three important questions arose for consideration before Delhi High Court :- What is the legal status of an Emergency Arbitrator i.e. whether the Emergency Arbitrator is an arbitrator and whether the interim order of the Emergency Arbitrator is an order under Section 17 (1) and is enforceable under 17(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act? Observed: Section 2(8) of the Indian Arbitration Act 1996 expressly provides that where Part I of the Indian Arbitration Act 1996 refers to an ―agreement of the parties‖, such agreement shall include the arbitration rules referred to in the parties’ agreement. In this way, the Indian Arbitration Act 1996 provides that any arbitration rules agreed to by the parties are incorporated into the arbitration agreement. Unless expressly excluded, it is trite that the parties cannot resile from the terms of their arbitration agreement, including their agreement to allow either party to request the appointment of an emergency arbitrator. Further, Section 17 of the Indian Arbitration Act 1996, which empowers an arbitral tribunal to grant interim reliefs, does not preclude or intimate that parties cannot agree to institutional rules which allow recourse to emergency arbitration. In the absence of a mandatory prohibition contained in the Indian Arbitration Act 1996 or public policy constraints, the parties may agree to any arbitral procedure. Whether the Emergency Arbitrator misapplied the Group of Companies doctrine which applies only to proceedings under Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act? Held The Indian Arbitration Act 1996, does not preclude parties from agreeing to arbitrate under institutional rules that allow either party to request appropriate reliefs from an emergency arbitrator. The Respondents’ references to the 246th Law Commission Report do not assist its submissions on this issue in a meaningful way. It is just as plausible that Parliament, in its wisdom, did not consider it necessary to amend the Indian Arbitration Act 1996 to make a specific reference to emergency arbitrators because it was legally unnecessary – that is to say, it might have been an instance of the Law Commission making a suggestion to gild the lily. There was no need for statutory recognition if the courts and case law did not find this a problematic issue. Indeed, given the prevalence, even then, in the employment and use of this useful procedure internationally, this is likely to have been the case. It is also noteworthy that the power to appoint an emergency arbitrator is currently recognized in a number of domestic Indian arbitration institution rules, including (a) the Delhi International Arbitration Centre of the Delhi High Court; (b) the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration; and (c) the Madras High Court Arbitration Centre, all of which include, under their rules, provisions for emergency arbitration and set out the appointment process, applicable procedures, and timing as well as the powers of an emergency arbitrator. Emergency Arbitrators are recognised under the Indian Arbitration Framework The Claimant rightly asserts that the Respondents’ insistence that the notion of emergency arbitration is […]

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JUDICIAL ACTIVISM AFFECTING ORIGINAL SCOPE OF DUTIES? An analysis based on Article 138 of the Constitution :

May 15, 2021

My Quote: We must consider a person whose money and land is blocked in litigation dies everyday. Article 138. Enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (1) The Supreme Court shall have such further jurisdiction and powers with respect to any of the matters in the Union List as Parliament may by law confer (2) The Supreme Court shall have such further jurisdiction, and powers with respect to any matter as the Government of India and the Government of any State may by special agreement confer, if Parliament by law provides for the exercise of such jurisdiction and powers by the Supreme Court Poetic Justice: English drama critic Thomas Rymer coined the phrase in The Tragedies of the Last Age Consider’d (1678) to describe how a work should inspire proper moral behavior in its audience by illustrating the triumph of good over evil. The demand for poetic justice is consistent in Classical authorities and shows up in Horace, Plutarch, and Quintillian, so Rymer’s phrasing is a reflection of a commonplace. Philip Sidney, in The Defence of Poesy (1595) argued that poetic justice was, in fact, the reason that fiction should be allowed in a civilized nation. But Indian Civilization believes in Karma which was much much prior to theory of poetic justice: And here they say that a person consists of desires, and as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap. : Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 7th century BCE Judicial Activism: During #pandemic #Covid19India Judiciary played active role. As such over last 15 years there is more judicial activism. When we change or expand horizon we need more efficiency, professionalism, workforce, intellect, reduction in procedure and process, and also with today’s time we need modern technology. We have in last decade seen Judiciary calling #AirChiefMarshal for questioning on #Rafaeldeal We saw courts ordering change in 1000 years custom and usage in case of #shabarimala At the same time #NJAC was struck down. There is Judicial activism seen by way of PILs and suo motu cognizance. However the fundament duty of Judiciary has seen serious backlog. May it be suit, appeal or execution. We cannot value the total amount stuck in financial  recovery cases,  and land cases pending in various courts across India. Common citizens discuss but do not debate because of scare of law. I am referring these sequences of events because recently Bombay High Court said if people die of lack of oxygen it’s violative of Article 21. What does it provide? Article 21 in The Constitution of India 1949 gives  Protection of life and personal liberty No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. Backlog of Cases violate of Constitutional Rights? there is report which requires serious considerations even by those who are executing duties under oath. https://prsindia.org/policy/vital-stats/pendency-cases-judiciary which says: In 2016,  compared to 2006, number of cases disposed of increased approximately from 57,000 to 76,000  in Supreme Court;  from 14.4 lakh cases to 16 lakh cases in High Courts and from […]

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International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Rules,Procedure, and India’s approach

August 1, 2020

First let us see why ICSID was formed and here we will see Practice, Rules and Jurisdiction of ICSID. With growing economy and globalization some forum was felt necessary to resolve dispute between investor and Host State. ICSID  was established under the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the ICSID Convention), is a multilateral international treaty. The ICSID Convention came into force on October 14, 1966. As of May 2016, 153 contracting member states agreed to enforce and uphold arbitral awards in accordance with the ICSID Convention. The primary purpose of ICSID is to provide facilities and services to support conciliation and arbitration of international investment disputes. The ICSID is part of and funded by the World Bank Group, and its headquarter is in Washington, D.C., in the United States of America. It is an autonomous, multilateral specialized institution to encourage international investment and ease non-commercial risks by a treaty drafted by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s( IBRD)  executive directors and signed by member countries. The seat may be moved to another place by decision of the Administrative Council adopted by a majority of two-thirds of its members. The Center has an Administrative Council and a Secretariat and maintains a Panel of Conciliators and a Panel of Arbitrators. Unique Features of ICSID  Arbitration and conciliation under the Convention is  voluntary and require consent of both the investor and State concerned ( Host State)  Once such consent is given, it cannot be withdrawn unilaterally and it becomes a binding undertaking. ICSID is an impartial facility, and it does not decide the cases. The independent arbitrators and conciliators appointed to each case and pass award. Organization Structure The President of the Bank is ex officio Chairman of the Administrative Council (hereinafter called the Chairman) but shall have no right to vote. During his absence or inability to act and during any vacancy in the office of President of the Bank, the person for the time being acting as President shall act as Chairman of the Administrative Council. Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction of the ICSID is in Article 25 The term “jurisdiction of the Centre” is used in the Convention as a convenient expression to shall deemed to mean that, the limits within which the provisions of the Convention will apply. The facilities of the Centre will be available for conciliation and arbitration proceedings when its within jurisdiction of ICSID to its members. The jurisdiction of the ICSID extends to any legal dispute arising directly out of an investment, between a Contracting State / Host Sate and an investor/national of another Contracting State, which the parties to the dispute consent in writing to submit to the ICSID. It may be noted that, consent alone doesn’t bring a dispute within its jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the Centre is further governed by Article 25(1). Article 25 (1)  provides that the jurisdiction of ICSID applies to legal disputes arising out of investments. So two basic preconditions which will give ICSID Jurisdiction. The expression “legal dispute” has been used to make clear that while conflicts of rights are within […]

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