22 June 2020

Setting aside of the arbitral Award in rejecting the counter-claims of the respondent does not result in the same being decreed in its favour

Arbitration proceeding - Counter claim by respondent - counter claim dismissed - Award challenged u/s. 34 in District Court - District Court set aside that dismissal-award - consequences of such decision:

Held:

The Court which exercises jurisdiction u/s. 34 of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act is not a court of first appeal under the provisions of the C.P.C. hence the setting aside of an arbitral award rejecting a claim/counter claim does not result in the claim/counter claim which was rejected by the Arbitrator being decreed as a result of the judgment of the court in a petition under Section 34 of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Setting aside of arbitration award is not decreed award
So, it follows that the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal ensures to the benefit of the petitioners being a successful party. It is the successful party who can seek its enforcement under Section 36 of the Act and also secure the Award under section 9 of the Act and not the respondent being the losing party. This position of law is well settled by the judgment of the Bombay High Court as upheld by the Supreme Court in case of Dirk (Supra) wherein in paragraphs 13 & 14, the Court has held as under:

"13. The Court which exercises jurisdiction under Section 34 is not a court of first appeal under the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. An appellate court to which recourse is taken against a decree of the trial Court has powers which are co-extensive with those of the trial Court. A party which has failed in its claim before a trial Judge can in appeal seek a judgment of reversal and in consequence, the passing of a decree in terms of the claim in the suit. The court to which an arbitration petition challenging the award under Section 34 lies does not pass an order decreeing the claim. Where an arbitral claim has been rejected by the arbitral tribunal, the court under Section 34 may either dismiss the objection to the arbitral award or in the exercise of its jurisdiction set aside the arbitral award. The setting aside of an arbitral award rejecting a claim does not result in the claim which was rejected by the Arbitrator being decreed as a result of the judgment of the court in a petition under Section 34. To hold that a petition under Section 9 would be maintainable after the passing of an arbitral award at the behest of DIPL whose claim has been rejected would result in a perversion of the object and purpose underlying Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. DIPL's application under Section 9, if allowed, would result in the grant of interim specific performance of a contract in the teeth of the findings recorded in the arbitral award. The interference by the Court at this stage to grant what in essence is a plea for a mandatory order for interim specific performance will negate the sanctity and efficacy of arbitration as a form of alternate disputes redressal. What such a litigating party cannot possibly obtain even upon completion of the proceedings under Section 34, it cannot possibly secure in a petition under Section 9 after the award. The object and purpose of Section 9 is to provide an interim measure that would protect the subject-matter of the arbitral proceedings whether before or during the continuance of the arbitral proceedings and even thereafter upon conclusion of the proceedings until the award is enforced. Once the award has been made and a claim has been rejected as in the present case, even a successful challenge to the award under Section 34 does not result an order decreeing the claim. In this view of the matter, there could be no occasion to take recourse to Section 9. Enforcement for the purpose of Section 36 as a decree of the Court is at the behest of a person who seeks to enforce the award. (Emphasis supplied)[Para No.54]


It is clear that the even if the respondent succeeds in its Section 34 petition, the setting aside of the arbitral Award in rejecting the counter-claims of the respondent does not result in the same being decreed in its favour. It would be open to the respondent to commence fresh proceedings against the petitioners (Ref. International Inc. v. Burn Standard Co. Ltd., (2006) 11 SCC 181).[Para No.68]

{relied on Dirk India Private Limited Vs. MSEGC (2013) 7 Bom. CR 493}

Delhi High Court

Tecnimont Private Limited
Vs.
ONGC Petro Additions Limited

Decided on 20/06/2020






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