Published on: April 11, 2022 at 18:24 IST
A Petition filed to Execute a 1992 Arbitration Award was never heard by Small Causes Court in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, despite being listed 147 times in the last 20 years.
The Supreme Court issued Notice to the other party, called it a ‘sorry State of Affairs’, and directed the Allahabad High Court Registrar to place on record how many Execution Petitions to execute such Awards, both under the Arbitration Act, 1940, and its newer version, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, are pending in subordinate Courts/Executing Courts in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
“If the Award, under the Arbitration Act, is not executed at the earliest, it will frustrate the purpose and object of the Arbitration Act as well as the Commercial Courts Act (2015)” Justice M. R.Shah observed.
Aggrieved by the ‘slow pace’ of Court proceedings, M.S Chopra (Petitioner) moved the Supreme Court after the Allahabad High Court, refused to accede to his request for a direction to the small causes court to expedite hearing of his case.
According to the Arbitration Award, Bharat Pumps and Compressors Limited was directed to pay Rs 1.68 crore to Chopra’s firm, along with an Annual Compound Interest of 12 percent.
M.S Chopra moved the Small Causes Court in Prayagraj for finalisation of the Decree, which was done after 11 long years on 28 April, 2003. However, the Interest Component was reduced to 6 per cent from the earlier 12 per cent.
In the last 20 years, the Matter was listed in the worklist of the Court 147 times. One of the Primary Causes for the Case getting stuck was the unavailability of the Judge hearing the Matter. Another reason cited for Adjournments in the Case is Lawyers desisting from work in the Court.
“The fact that a particular Case requires urgent disposal is to be considered by the concerned Court itself,” the High Court said, giving Liberty to Chopra to move the Small Causes Court, and directing the latter to consider his request to Fast-Track the hearing.
Before Supreme Court, Chopra has assailed both the Lower Court and High Court for ‘Defeating the Objective’ of the Arbitration Act.
“But this Case is an example of non-execution of a Decree in an Arbitration Award matter on unsubstantiated pretext. Regular Adjournments in the Case have precluded justice to the Petitioner, who is suffering from multiple ailments, including prostate cancer, for which he is on anti-cancer injections and heart ailments,” Chopra’s lawyer, Aarti. U. Mishra, said.