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Apex court in a recent judgment of M/S. Centrotrade Minerals and Metals inc. v. Hindustan Copper ltd. Civil Appeal No. 2564 of 2006 ended two decades of litigation regarding enforcement of an Arbitration award delivered in favor of Centrotrade by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) London.

The appeal was filed by Centrotrade, referred before a three-judge bench against a split decision by a division bench of the Supreme Court. The issue before the court was whether Hindustan Copper ltd. (HCL) was unable to present their case in terms of Article V(1)(b) of the New York Convention and whether the ex parte award can be enforced in India under Section 48 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

In the view of the facts, the court came to the conclusion that HCL was given ample opportunity to present their case but they abstained from participating in the Arbitration process voluntarily and therefore citing various authorities from across the world it was found that there was no violation of natural rights of HCL. Consequently, the award by ICC was held to be enforceable.

In a previous round of litigation, the Apex court by a three-judge bech decided on December 15, 2016, that a two-tier arbitration clause involved in the present case was valid. The said clause created the first round of arbitration in India and then a further appeal to a second round of arbitration in ICC.

By: Shubham K Singh

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