Introduction The juxtaposition of laws that seemingly operate in different domains has posed a continual challenge to arbitration – conventionally, in the form of concerns over arbitrability of disputes. Here, arbitrability connotes the notion that a dispute, by its nature, is capable of being adjudicated beyond public fora, through a private tribunal chosen by parties….

The decision of the Supreme Court of India (“SC”) in Ssangyong Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. v. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) (“Ssansyong”), has led to three notable developments: (1) it clarifies the scope of the “public policy” ground for setting aside an award as amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015…

The question whether two Indian parties can choose a foreign seat of arbitration has become far too obfuscated with some recent judicial pronouncements. This article seeks to argue that the scheme of Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act (“Act”) itself does not permit it. In India, enforcement of arbitral awards is covered in two parts under…

The Indian Supreme Court recently in M/s Icomm Tele Ltd. vs. Punjab State Water Supply & Sewerage Board,  (“Icomm”), struck down a clause in an arbitration agreement as unconstitutional. The clause mandated a pre-deposit of 10% of the amount claimed in the arbitration proceeding. The Court found this clause to be arbitrary and resulting in…

What is the meaning of “existence”? While theologians and philosophers continue to debate this endlessly, this metaphysical question has also concerned Indian arbitration law, specifically Section 11(6A) of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”). It was thought that the scope of a court’s intervention when appointing an arbitrator was solidified via the 2015 Amendment…

In Part I of the post, we discussed the position of law on the “existence” test under Section 11(6A) of the Act. In Part II, we aim to provide context to the developments relating to the provision and understand the larger picture of the judicial trend. But first, on the basis of the decisions discussed…

Modern day arbitration agreements usually contain provisions that require parties to take certain steps before the commencement of arbitration. Such clauses, often described as “multi-tiered” clauses, set out a sequence for invoking the arbitration agreement. Typically, pre-arbitration steps include procedures such as time-bound mediations, amicable settlements, cooling-off periods, and other forms of non-binding determinations. Despite…

  For a country with a significant corpus of the world’s personal data, India’s data protection framework is notoriously deficient. Improperly scoped, imprecisely drafted, and with no real enforcement culture, the extant framework often tends to create more problems than it solves. With a view towards overhauling this framework, the Government of India, in July…

“Conversation – respectful, engaged, reciprocal, calling forth some of our greatest powers of empathy and understanding – is the moral form of a world governed by the dignity of difference.” Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, The Dignity of Difference, quoted by Ian Macduff in “Signs of hope” Following on from yesterday’s post, this second post offers…

Introduction The Delhi High Court’s recent judgment in Union of India v. Khaitan Holdings (Mauritius) marks the third instance of an Indian court adjudicating upon issues related to arbitration under an international investment treaty. Within these three judgments, courts have fundamentally disagreed on a crucial point – the applicability of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,…

Arbitration of IP disputes has inherent advantages of saving time and costs and ensuring confidentiality while also maintaining long-term business relations (see here). In India, arbitration will be especially useful in light of the enormous pendency of judicial cases. However, arbitrability of any subject-matter is dictated by a country’s public policy. In India, what forms…

A legal regime which asks the victim of a frivolous legal proceeding to subsidise the costs of the perpetrator is unjust and is bound to provide incentives for more frivolous proceedings. For a long time, Indian arbitration law had been providing such incentives for a party to make frivolous objections to the arbitration agreement or…

INTRODUCTION It is fairly known that the Indian Limitation Act, 1963 (the Limitation Act) constitutes “general law” for Time Periods and its computation. Section 29(2) of the said Act contains the fundamental rule that provisions of Limitation Act would apply for computation of time period prescribed by any special law only to the extent it…

Section 16 (1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 [“the Indian Act”] confers power upon the arbitral tribunal to decide on matters relating to its jurisdiction. Under section 16 (5), a decision accepting the plea of lack of jurisdiction shall be an appealable order; while decision rejecting the same plea can be challenged only…

In a marked departure from its usual closed-doors policy, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) recently held public deliberations in two separate appeal proceedings concerning foreign investment arbitrations. In both cases, a public deliberation by all five judges of the first civil chamber was necessitated due to the lack of unanimity among the…

Introduction Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of India, 1996 (the Act), demonstrates in detail the procedure for appointment of arbitrators. It empowers the court to examine the existence of an arbitration agreement while deciding the application for such appointment. The gravity and significance of such proceedings is vast, in both domestic and…

International investment agreements (IIAs) are divided into two types: (1) bilateral investment treaties and (2) treaties with investment provisions. I would primarily focus on the first category i.e. bilateral investment treaties. A bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is an agreement between two countries regarding the promotion and protection of investments made by investors from one country…

India signed the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards, 1958, commonly known as the New York Convention (“the Convention”), on 10th June, 1958 and ratified it on 13th July, 1960. Often criticised as a “non-friendly” arbitration jurisdiction by the international community, this post analyses how India has fared in its obligations under…

This blog previously carried a post (“previous post”) on the Indian Supreme Court’s (“SC”) progressive approach to binding non-signatories to an arbitration agreement in Ameet Lalchand Shah and Others v Rishabh Enterprises and Another (“Ameet Lalchand”). The present post briefly discusses another aspect of this approach in context of Cheran Properties Limited v Kasturi and…

The proposed amendments (“Bill”) to the Indian arbitration law may soon get the force of law. The Bill is based on the report (“Report”) of a High Level Committee and suggests several changes which may have far-reaching negative effect.   In my earlier post, it was argued that the Report and the Bill have some…

Background The Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) provides, in Section 37(2)(b), for an ‘appeal’ from an arbitral tribunal’s order on interim/provisional measures (“interim order”). It, however, does not stipulate the standard of review that the court must apply while reviewing an interim order. Sans any prescribed legislative standard, courts have two alternatives available: test…

The Supreme Court of India (“SC”) in its recent decision M/s Lion Engineering Consultants v. State of M.P. & Ors. (“Lion”) has held that a party that had failed to raise a jurisdictional challenge before the arbitral tribunal under Section 16 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”), would yet be permitted to raise such…

Independence and impartiality of arbitrators are the hallmarks of arbitration. The amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 (“Act”) in 2015, which adopted the international best practices from the International Bar Association Guidelines on Conflict of Interest (“IBA Guidelines”), aimed to bolster not only the neutrality of arbitrators, but also the perception of neutrality….

The lower house of the Indian Parliament recently passed the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2018 (“Bill”) to amend the arbitration law. If also passed by the upper house of Parliament, and upon receiving the President’s assent, this will become a law. It will then come into force when the Government so notifies. The Law…