Caught up in the grid lock of a massive dispute making headlines every day, Amazon, Future Group and Reliance continue their battle all the way to the Supreme Court of India.
The Apex Court on 11 January, 2021 took a giant progressive leap towards developing a more liberal arbitration regime in the country by holding that non-payment of stamp duty would not invalidate the arbitration agreement. A bench comprising of Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira Banerjee in the matter of N.N. Global Mercantile Pvt. Ltd v. Indo Unique Flame Ltd. & Others1 has interestingly referred the issue ‘whether non-payment of Stamp duty on Commercial Contract will invalidate an Arbitration Agreement’ to be authoritatively settled by a Constitution Bench.
The year 2020 has seen some important legislative and case law developments in arbitration law in India. The year ended with the following landmark judgments by the Supreme Court.
The words of Hon’ble Ms Justice Indu Malhotra in the case of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. v. Canara Bank & Ors., judgment dated 08.08.2019 in Civil Appeal Nos. 6202-6205 of 2019, “that a valid arbitration agreement is the foundation stone on which the entire edifice of the arbitral process is structured” lay emphasis on the vitality of an Arbitration Clause.
The Government of India (“GoI”) had, in November 2019, lined up the sale of five (5) public sector units’ (“PSUs”) stakes, including its 52.98 per cent stake (114.91 crore equity shares) in blue chip oil company Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (“BPCL”) and accordingly, sought Expressions of Interest (“EOIs”) from potential acquirers by July 31, 2020. The actual sell-off would obviously depend upon the market once all EOIs had been received.
A long due controversy on arbitrability of tenancy disputes has finally been put to rest by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. A bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Krishna Murari on 14 December, 2020 in the matter of “Vidya Drolia and others v Durga Trading Corporation” (‘Vidya Drolia -II’)
A long due controversy on arbitrability of tenancy disputes has finally been put to rest by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. A bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Krishna Murari on 14 December, 2020
The words of J. Burrough aptly justify the unpredictability of the interpretation of the term ‘public policy’ when he says, “Public Policy is an unruly horse where once you stride on it you do not know where it’s going to take you.”
The appetite for ‘litigation funding’, amongst claimants as well as investors, has never been greater. Over the last decade, this appetite has been pushed to greater lengths and breadths as a result of widening globalisation and liberalisation of funding regimes across jurisdictions. In fact, ‘litigation funding’ is now considered to be the new ‘normal’ for capital infusion for furthering resolution of disputes, in both domestic litigation as well as international arbitration…
Earlier this year in August, Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (“Reliance”) broke the news that it had entered into a deal for the acquisition of assets of Future Retail Limited (“Future”), with the transaction valuing at approximately USD 3.38 billion. However, with regard to this deal, Amazon announced that the said transaction was contrary to a shareholders’ agreement that existed between the promoters of the Future Group and therefore, violated the same. Whilst Amazon proceeded to invoke arbitration proceedings before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (“SIAC”), in view of this transaction between Reliance and Future, it also sought for interim relief before an emergency arbitrator appointed under the SIAC Rules.