All civil disputes are, by definition, arbitrable except those that are specifically excluded

Bombay High Court: The present Notice of Motion is the Defendant No. 1’s Application under Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, in which the prayer was made in order to refer to Arbitration for resolving all disputes between Plaintiff and Defendant in terms of the Arbitration Agreement contained in a Term Sheet dated June 13, 2012.  The Suit itself was first mounted as a copyright action. The Plaintiff produces, distributes and exhibits feature films through various media and in various modes. It owns copyright in several feature films. In March 2012, Defendant No. 1 approached the Plaintiff saying that it had sufficient expertise in the business of content distribution to manufacturers of devices by which content could be ‘pre-embeded’ or ‘pre-burned’. A Term Sheet dated 13th June 2012 was executed between the parties. Preceding this Term Sheet there was some correspondence in which the Plaintiff alleged that there was copyright infringement by Defendant, but for the present purpose this matters little given the frame of the of the present Notice of Motion. Plaintiff’s and the Defendants were represented by Senior Counsels V.R. Dhond and Dr. Veerendra Tulzapurkar respectively. Dr. Tulzapurkar submitted that there is no specific bar to the arbitration or the arbitrability of such disputes. Plaintiff’s claim is under the Term Sheet. This is not a case where the allegation is that Defendant is guilty of copyright infringement simpliciter. There is very much a contract between the parties. Therefore, all civil disputes of the kind mentioned in the Term Sheet and in the Arbitration Agreement lend themselves to arbitration, and it is settled law that all civil disputes are, by definition, arbitrable except those that are specifically excluded. The counsel for Plaintiff relied on Section 62 of the Copyright Act and argued that the remedies sought by the Plaintiff are in Rem and are thus inherently non-Arbitrable. Later, Defendant Nos. 2 to 8 filed Affidavits and stated that they are agreeable to Arbitration and further relied on the amended Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, which now includes parties or persons claiming through or under a party to an Arbitration agreement.  Each of them have also said that they were all sub-licensees of Defendant No. 1. The Defendant No. 1 further contended that the remedies claimed by the Plaintiff are in Personam and thus can be referred to Arbitration. The Single Judge G.S. Patel J., while agreeing to the contentions raised by the Defendant disposed of the said Notice of Motion by referring all the disputes in the Suit to Arbitration. [Eros International Media vs. Telemax Links India Pvt. Ltd2016 SCC OnLine Bom 2179 decided on April 12, 2016]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seventeen − 17 =