Supreme Court Upholds Setting Aside of ICC Order in Antrix v Devas Case

Supreme Court Law Insider

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Published on: October 29, 2023 at 13:43 IST

The Supreme Court of India has put an end to a nearly decade-long legal battle by refusing to uphold an arbitral award from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The ICC had directed Antrix Corporation Limited to pay over $560 million in damages with interest to Devas Multimedia Private Limited. The Delhi High Court had previously set aside the arbitral award, citing patent illegalities, fraud, and conflict with Indian public policy.

In a judgment on October 6, a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat (now retired) and Aravind Kumar declined to interfere with the Delhi High Court’s decision. The Supreme Court’s order stated, “This Court is of the opinion that the impugned order does not call for interference. The special leave petition is accordingly dismissed.”

The ICC had issued the contested arbitral award on September 14, 2015, directing Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to pay damages to Devas.

However, the Delhi High Court, in March, upheld the single-judge order that set aside the award, leading to the current appeal by Devas Employees Fund US LLC.

Devas, a Bengaluru-based start-up owned by Mauritian and US firms, had entered into an agreement with Antrix to provide multimedia services in India using spectrum capacity on satellites built and launched by Antrix. The agreement was terminated by Antrix in 2011, triggering a legal battle that ultimately reached the Supreme Court.

Antrix argued that the contract was tainted by corruption, fraud, and criminality committed by the management of both Antrix and Devas.

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