fbpx

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 […]

Read more