Union of India directed to examine Section 29-A of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015

Madras High Court: Directing the Union of India to examine the provision related to pending arbitration proceedings as per the recently promulgated Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, the Division Bench of S.K. Kaul, C.J. and Pushpa Sathyanarayana, J., stated that the Government must clarify that whether Section 29-A would be applicable to pending arbitrations or not, and if it is applicable to the pending arbitrations, then whether the time period specified therein would commence from the date of the Ordinance. The Court further directed the Government to clarify that whether the Law Commission’s opinion was sought prior to the promulgation of the Ordinance with regard to introduction of Section 29-A. The Court further sought clarification on the point of non-introduction of the proposed Section 85-A as recommended by the Law Commission, which dealt with the aspect as to prospective and retrospective operation of the various provisions.

The provision in question, Section 29-A was inserted to specify that an award shall be made by the arbitral tribunal within the period of twelve months from the date the arbitral tribunal enters upon the reference. This period may be extended for a period not exceeding six months with the consent of the parties. It is also provided that if the award is not made within the period of 12 months or the extended period, the mandate of the tribunal shall terminate unless the Court has, either prior to or after the expiry of the period so specified, extended the period. [Delphi TVS Diesel Systems Ltd v. Union of India, decided on 24-11-2015]

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