Mere submission to exclusive jurisdiction of foreign court does not bar Indian courts u/s 9 Arbitration Act: Delhi High Court

Team SoOLEGAL 27 Oct 2020 4:38pm

Mere submission to exclusive jurisdiction of foreign court does not bar Indian courts u/s 9 Arbitration Act: Delhi High Court

In Big Charter Pvt Ltd Vs Ezen Aviation Ptv Ltd [O.M.P.(I)(COMM.)] 112/2020 the Delhi High Court was of the view that under Section 9 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, application of an arbitration proceedings in a foreign court does not take the jurisdiction of an Indian court. Justice C. Hari Shankar was hearing the plea and in this case the petitioner and the respondent, were parties to the lease of aircraft related agreements. While the petitioner offered scheduled services to the air operator, the respondent was engaged in the company and leasing of aircraft. Confirming that there was a simple and unmistakable violation of the agreement by the respondent, the plaintiff invoked arbitration and, pursuant to section 9 of the Arbitration Act, moved the High Court to grant interim relief.

According to the respondent, the High Court has no jurisdiction to entertain this particular petition. The respondent stated that both the parties had decided to commit themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts of Singapore. All the arbitration proceedings must comply with the Arbitration Laws of Singapore International Arbitration Center. According to the petitioner if the present petition was not received, it would be made irremediable in so far as its prayer for pre-arbitral temporary relief was concerned.

The Court was also of the view that since arbitration law in India has been codified in the context of the 1996 Act, the question of jurisdiction for a petition under Section 9 would emerge from the 1996 Act itself. The Court stated that any reference to the UNCITRAL model or any textual commentary can, if at all, be justified only if there is any uncertainty in any of the sections of the 1996 Act requiring resolution.

 The Court further stated that after the amendment of the provision to Section 2(2) on 23rd October, 2015, Section 9 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 must also apply to all international commercial arbitration.

Moreover, the Court took into consideration the Law Commission Report on the detrimental effects of removing the applicability of Section 9 in the case of international arbitration proceedings. The Court did not accept the respondent’s contention on the ground that the Singapore Courts had no power to grant relief Section 9 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. 

Tagged: foreign court   Indian courts   Arbitration Act   Delhi High Court   Justice C. Hari Shankar   Arbitration Laws   Singapore International Arbitration Center   Law Commission  
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