Is India losing the Litmus Test on Investor Protection by Preventing Vodafone from Invoking Arbitration under UK-India BIT?

First published on Kluwer Arbitration Blog.

India’s dispute with Vodafone has been one of its most publicized and long pending disputes with a foreign investor. Despite attempts at conciliation, parties remain locked in international arbitration under the relevant BIT. It may not be hyperbole to suggest that India’s approach to this dispute effectively defines its attitude to investor protection, at least so is the perception Therefore, when it recently chose to obtain an ex-parte injunction against Vodafone from starting an arbitration under UK-India BIT from a domestic municipal court (Delhi High Court), it came as a surprise to many.

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Court’s Power to Terminate Arbitrator’s Mandate: SC Settles Long Outstanding Debate

First published on IndiaCorpLaw Blog

In HRD Corporation v Gail (India) Ltd. (decided on August 31, 2017), the Supreme Court held that for any infraction of section 12(5) read with the Seventh Schedule of the amended Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the “Act”), recourse to section 14 of the Act would be available and the court would have the power to terminate the mandate of the arbitrator in such cases. It clarified that this remedy would be available only with respect to the question as to whether the arbitrator was “ineligible” under any ground listed in the Seventh Schedule. As to the grounds relating to independence and impartiality listed in the Fifth Schedule, the Court held that the challenge procedure under section 13 of the Act would be the exclusive remedy.

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Appointment of Arbitrators: SC battling self created demons?

A recent reported judgment, Voestalpine Schinen GmbH vs. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (2017) 4 SCC 665, makes an interesting read. Of course, it is one of the first decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting the amending provisions in S. 12 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and must be of interest – but it is of even more significance because of what the court orders without reference to the dispute before it.

In brief, the controversy was simple – and would be recurring in the Indian PSUs context. The arbitration clause provided that a three member tribunal would be selected in the following fashion: DMRC would maintain a panel of arbitrators – serving or retired engineers of government departments or of public sector undertakings. It would send a name of 5 from the panel to Voestalpine to select one, after making its own selection from that 5. The two so chosen will then select the third from the same 5 names. Continue reading “Appointment of Arbitrators: SC battling self created demons?”

Suggestions and Comments in Response to Model Text for the Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty

This was the first international research initiative by Society for Research in Law [SRIL], a student-based organization [a society registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860], whereby comments and suggestions were submitted to the Indian government on the Model Text for Indian Bilateral Investment Treaty released for public comments.The report provided an in-depth research and analysis of the Model Text from international investment law perspective. The report addresses both issues relating to policy concerns surrounding foreign investor protection as well as the legal and interpretational issues likely to arise in light of the provisions of the Model Text.

The Project was conducted under the guidance of Mr. Sumit Rai.

The report is available here.

India Amends Arbitration Law: Some Great, Some Absurd Changes

First published on BlogArbitration

The 1996 statute which has been subject of much criticism, sometimes unfairly overstated, has finally been amended through an ordinance which was promulgated on Friday, 23 October. The ordinance is available here.

An amendment has been in the pipeline for longer than one might think, with the first law commission recommendation to amend the 1996 Act coming way back in 2001.

The second attempt began in 2010, eventually leading to another law commission report and recommendation for a new set of amendments proposed about a year ago. The intervening 15 years had seen a complete change in how arbitration was viewed by the courts and by the policy makers in India, and that is reflected in the approach the two law commissions took – one in 2001 and the other in 2015.

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Bhatia International Ratio under the Scanner at Indian Supreme Court

First published on BlogArbitration

As reported earlier, a five judge constitutional bench of the Indian Supreme Court has started hearing arguments in the widely followed review of the Bhatia Internationalratio. I review here, some of the most important arguments made in favour of confirming the ratio.

This decision of a three member bench of the Supreme Court had allowed for application of Part I of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Indian Act”) to arbitration seated outside India. Before moving on with the post, let me lay some background for those not initiated with the controversy, so that you follow the issues in contention in the present review

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Does the 2G License Cancellation amount to Expropriation by India?

First published on BlogArbitration

In 2011, the issue of corruption at the highest levels of governance dominated political and social debates in India. Allegations of loss to the exchequer to the tune of 300 billion rupees in the 2008 allotment of 2G spectrum for mobile telephony, shocked the nation. This probably also came as a shock to a large number of foreign investors – by then having infused huge capital in telecom companies. The telecom minister was made to resign and since has been in jail. Many corporate heads of Indian telecom companies also visited prison for a brief time and are now out on bail pending final investigation and prosecution.

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