India: Interim Award On Admitted Liability In Arbitration Proceedings

Last Updated: 3 July 2019

The arbitration law in India permits the passing of an interim award by the Arbitral Tribunal vide section 31(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Hereinafter called the Act) on any matter with respect to which it may make a final award.

An interim award is different from an interim order in as much as an interim award has been held to be a final award, but made at an interim stage1. In fact the definition clause of the Act clearly provides that the term "arbitral award" includes an interim award2. In view of the same, an interim award, unlike an interim order under Section 17 of the Act, can be challenged under Section 34 of the Act and not under Section 37 of the Act.

The principles for passing an interim award on admissions are akin to the principles followed by courts in passing a judgment on admissions under Order XII Rule 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. In the judgment of Uttam Singh Duggal Co. Ltd. vs. United Bank of India Ltd & Ors3 the Hon'ble Supreme court observed that the principles of Order XII Rule 6 are wide in their implication and a decree on admissions is to be passed when it is impossible for the party making the admission to succeed in the face of such admissions made by him. As to the nature of admissions, the Hon'ble Apex Court4 has laid down, that the admissions should be categorical. It should be a conscious and deliberate act of the party making it, showing an intention to be bound by it. The judgment should be made keeping in mind that a judgment on admission is a judgment without trial which permanently denies any remedy to the Defendant. Therefore the Court should exercise its discretion only when the admission is clear, unequivocal unambiguous and unconditional.

In the case of Nagindas Ramdas v. Dalpatram Iccharam5 the Hon'ble Apex Court has observed that admissions if true and clear, are by far the best proof of the facts admitted. Admissions in pleadings or judicial admissions, admissible under Section 58 of the Evidence Act, made by the parties or their agents at or before the hearing of the case, stand on a higher footing than evidentiary admissions. The former class of admissions are fully binding on the party that makes them and constitute a waiver of proof. They by themselves can be made the foundation of the rights of the parties.

Very recently, the Division Bench of Delhi High Court has revisited the issue of power of arbitral tribunal to pass an interim award qua an admitted liability/amount which is withheld by a party simply for the reason that its counter claims are pending adjudication6. The case revolved around the challenge to an interim award passed by the tribunal on the basis of an admission of payment by the party. The only defense taken was that there was an adjustment of the amount and counterclaims were pending.

The issue of pendency of counter claims to oppose passing of interim award, was discussed succinctly in another division bench judgment of Delhi High Court wherein the court was pleased to answer the issue in negative7. In the Numero Uno case, the court has held that pendency of counter claim does not denude the arbitrator of the power to pass an interim award in the original suit/claim if such an interim award is otherwise justified. No interference with an interim award would, however, be permissible only because the defendant has made a counter claim or because some areas of dispute independent of the area covered by the interim award remains to be resolved. Such a position has emerged in view that a counterclaim is not only treated as a separate proceeding, but is infact a claim which is disputed and is still to be adjudicated.

The Numero Uno case (Supra) has further laid down that passing of an interim award ensures that the party, to who an amount is admittedly payable, does not have to await determination of other disputes to be finally resolved, which may take several years. It further states that the making of the interim award, would not prevent the Tribunal from making adjustments at the stage of making the final award.

In the Nimbus Case (Supra), the admission of the payment was clear and unequivocal, and there was no defense except adjustment. In view of the same, the admissions were accepted to be judicial admissions being part of the pleadings, and hence the best proof for the purpose of passing the interim award. As far as the pendency of counterclaims is concerned, the law laid down in the Numero Uno case (Supra) was followed, and the plea of the opposite party as regards the adjustment of counterclaims was also rejected.

The Division Bench of the Madras High Court in the judgment of Gammon India Ltd. v. Sankaranarayan Construction (Bangalore) Pvt. Ltd.8, has also taken a concurrent view on the power of the tribunal to pass interim award qua admitted liability vis-à-vis Order XII Rule 6 of C.P.C. The Gammon India judgment further emphasized that Section 19 (1) of the Act which provides that the arbitral tribunal shall not be bound by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, is not an impediment in passing an interim award as the arbitral tribunal can always adopt the principles of the Code of Civil Procedure. Hence for reason of Section 19 alone, the power of the tribunal to follow the principles of Order XII Rule 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and Section 58 of the Indian Evidence Act cannot be made inapplicable.

To sum up it is very much within the powers of an Arbitral Tribunal to pass an interim award on the basis of clear and unambiguous admissions by a party under Section 31(6) of the Act by applying and invoking the principles of Order XII Rule 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1906, notwithstanding pendency of counterclaims lodged by the party.


1. McDermott International Inc. v. Burn Standard Co. Ltd. (2006)11SCC181

2. Section 2(c) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

3. (2000) 7 SCC 120

4. Himani Alloys Ltd. v. Tata Steel Ltd. 2011(7)Scale566

5. 1974SCR(2)544

6. Nimbus Communications Ltd. v. Prasar Bharati, FAO(OS) 369/2015, Delhi High Court, Decided on 05, April, 2016 (Hereinafter called the Nimbus Case).

7. Numero Uno International Ltd. v. Prasar Bharti 2008(1)ArbLR446(Delhi) (Hereinafter called the Numero Uno Case)

8. OMP No. 628/2008 (Madras High Court)

This document is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely on any information in this document without first seeking legal advice. This material is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any specific questions on any legal matter, you should consult a professional legal services provider.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Contact the Author?
Click here to email the Author
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Other India Advice Centres
More Advice Centers
Useful Resources
Legal updates from Singhania & Partners
Based in New Delhi, the main objective of ICA is to promote amicable, quick and inexpensive settlement of commercial disputes by means of arbitration, conciliation, regardless of location.
The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a leading professional membership organisation representing the interests of alternative dispute practitioners worldwide.
Upcoming Events
The firm regularly participates in or hosts a number of legal events.
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions