Deficiently Stamped Arbitration Agreements

Deficiently Stamped Arbitration Agreements: The Supreme Court Finally Decides

In April 2023, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court issued a decision in N.N. Global Mercantile Private Limited v. Indo Unique Flame Limited (“NN Global 2”) which held that a deficiently stamped agreement is void, unenforceable and cannot exist in law. Further, the Supreme Court in NN Global 2 held that such an agreement must be impounded by a court called upon to appoint an arbitrator.
NN Global 2 was met with criticism as it would lead to inordinate delays in the appointment of arbitrators and the commencement of arbitration proceedings, if stamping of agreements was made a pre-condition to these actions. It also impacted the manner in which legal practitioners summarized their due diligence findings of deficiently stamped agreements.
On December 13, 2023, a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court revisited NN Global 2 in Re Interplay between Arbitration Agreements under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 and the Indian Stamp Act 1899. This decision overruled NN Global 2, and provided much-needed clarity on the issue of admissibility and the enforceability of deficiently stamped agreements.
This note discusses the key findings of the decision of the seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court.


Private Sector Participation in India’s Space Sector

Reaching for the Stars: Private Sector Participation in India’s Space Sector

India’s recent achievements in space exploration have garnered significant global attention (e.g., Chandrayaan-3’s soft-landing on the lunar south pole; Aditya-L1’s solar study mission; and hitting key milestones in terms of achieving manned spaceflight capabilities as part of the Gaganyaan project). However, private sector participation in space activities continues to be hamstrung through a combination of: (i) financial constraints (e.g., a lack of access to capital, including continued challenges with respect to securing asset-based financing, such as on account of the mobility of such underlying assets); along with (ii) regulatory ambiguity (e.g., in terms of attributing and quantifying liability, including in respect of third-party liability insurance, as well as with regard to corresponding caps).
Nevertheless, several new initiatives in India hold promise, such as: (i) the Indian Space Policy, 2023; (ii) a stated commitment to increase the country’s global market share, including by moving away from a demand-based model to a supply-centric approach; (iii) the ongoing and time-bound processing of private sector applications (related to space activities) by the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) – a single-window nodal agency – including for the purpose of assisting erstwhile vendors and suppliers to move up the value chain; (iv) the aggregation of user requirements by NewSpace India Limited – a Central Government-owned enterprise – including for the purpose of utilizing new space assets optimally based on determinations of stakeholder accountability, as well as creating new ones based on demand confirmations; along with (v) the launch of the SpaceTech Innovation Network (SpIN) in order to foster entrepreneurial innovation – especially in respect of startups and SMEs.
This note outlines India’s efforts to enhance and improve upon space regulation – including through reforms and liberalization – while also highlighting obstacles in both policy and practice.


Electric Vehicle Sector in India

E-Vroom! An Overview of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Sector in India

Over the last few years and months, several policies and laws related to electric vehicles (EV) have been introduced in India, spanning several discrete pivots, such as in respect of: (1) local manufacturing, (2) emissions and waste reduction, and (3) charging infrastructure and batteries. This note aims to highlight some of the key initiatives undertaken by the government in the Indian EV sector, along with existing concerns and future opportunities.


COVID 19: Revised default trigger under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption of businesses and daily life. As governments across the world struggle to contain the pandemic, a number of regulatory and policy measures are being implemented by the Government of India to minimize the impact of the disruption caused to several classes of persons and corporate bodies.

A recent measure is the increase in the threshold for default by corporate debtors under Section 4 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (the “Code”) from INR 100,000 to INR 10,000,000 and a potential suspension of certain key provisions of the Code. These measures may have some positive and certain unintended consequences of concern to stakeholders.


Reflections on Section 36 of the Indian Arbitration Act

The time taken and procedures involved in enforcement proceedings of arbitral awards in India have drawn substantial criticism over the years, paving the way for the amendments in 2015 and 2019 to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. This note briefly examines the effect of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of India in Hindustan Construction Company on the question of whether the operation of a domestic arbitral award is automatically stayed upon the filing of a challenge to the award and traces the development of the automatic stay rule through the amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in 2015 and 2019 prior to the Supreme Court’s judgment.


India Chapter of the Chambers & Partners 2019 Global Practice Guide on International Arbitration

We are pleased to present the India chapter of the Chambers & Partners global practice guide on International Arbitration 2019 (Second Edition). The India chapter covers issues relating to, among others, enforcement of awards, court intervention in the arbitration process, jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals and recent amendments to the law governing arbitration in India.