India: Multi-Tier Arbitration Clauses: Directory Or Mandatory?

After the recent amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, inter alia, regarding fixation of time period within which a dispute must be adjudicated upon, more and more parties are flocking towards arbitration. Arbitration Clauses form part of almost all commercial contractual transactions. Often, these clauses provide for a pre-arbitration step called the process of amicable resolution to trigger the arbitration which are known as Multi-tier dispute resolution clauses.

Multi-tier dispute resolution clauses are also known as escalation clauses or filter clauses. They provide a forum for alternative resolution of disputes at each stage which otherwise finally escalates to arbitration. The inclusion of such clauses in commercial transactions is premised on the necessity to look for amicable modes of dispute resolution. These clauses generally contain pre-conditions of mediation and/or conciliation and/or negotiation before referring the disputes to arbitration. The inclusion of such clauses in today's commercial transactions are governed by recognition of the understanding that a number of disputes do get settled and scripting a multi-tier arbitration clause ensures that parties will at least look for alternative modes of dispute resolution before moving towards the process of arbitration. However, the contour of application of law becomes more complex when these multi-tier dispute resolution clauses are not fulfilled and the defaulting party proceededs with invocation of arbitration. The judicial view is divided on the enforceability of such clauses in such circumstances.

The Rajasthan High Court, in the case of M/s Simpark Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. Vs Jaipur Municipal Corporation; MANU/RH/1010/2012, stated that where agreed procedure of dispute resolution has been made a condition precedent for invoking the arbitration clause, the same is required to be followed. The Court relied upon the judgment of Hon'ble Supreme Court in SBP & Co. vs Patel Engineering Co. and held that the agreed arbitral procedure is required to be followed and further, a defaulting party cannot be allowed to take advantage of its own wrong. A perusal of Sec.11(6) of the Act of 1996, also reveals that since a party is required to act upon the agreed arbitral procedure for dispute resolution by signing an agreement with open eye,s then it is not open to the party to ignore the same and invoke exercise of power under Sec. 11(6) of the Act.

Whereas the Delhi High Court in the case of Ravindra Kumar Vermavs M/s BPTPltd.& Anr. MANU/DE/3028/2014 held that the existence of conciliation or mutual discussion should not be a bar in seeking to file proceedings for reference of the matter to arbitration and this is necessary for preserving rights as envisaged by Section 77 of the Act. However, since in many contracts there is an effective need of conciliation etc in terms of the agreed procedure provided by the contract, the best course of action to be adopted is that existence of conciliation or mutual discussion procedure or similar other procedure though should not be held as a bar for dismissing of a petition which is filed under Sections 11 or Sec 8 of the Act or for any legal proceeding required to be filed for preserving rights of the parties. However, before formally starting effective arbitration proceedings, parties should be directed to take up the agreed procedure for conciliation as provided in the agreed clause for mutual discussion/conciliation in a time bound reasonable period, in which if they fail, the parties can thereafter be held entitled to proceed with the arbitration proceedings to determine their claims/rights etc.

In view of the above dividing judgments, it can be concluded that where the parties have agreed upon an arbitral procedure of dispute resolution, which has been made a condition precedent for invoking the arbitration clause, then it is required to be followed before filing an application under Sec, 11 of the Act of 1996. Sub-Section (6) of Sec. 11 of the Act of 1996 cannot be invoked directly on expiry of thirty days' notice under sub-sec. (4) of Sec. 11 of the Act of 1996, by the Applicant for appointment of the Arbitral Tribunal, ignoring the agreed arbitral procedure. However, a possible counter argument can be developed that when a party is sure of the stand taken by the other party due to the facts and circumstances then agreed arbitral procedure need not be followed as the same would be futile and mere empty formality.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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

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

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Industry
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (you must 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

Mondaq.com (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 www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com 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.

Disclaimer

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.

General

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