India: Arbitration Seat Court Has Jurisdiction To Execute Arbitration Award

Last Updated: 6 June 2019
Article by Arundhati Sukhtankar

The Bombay High Court in a recent judgment considered whether a Court1, within whose jurisdiction arbitration takes place, which also has supervisory jurisdiction over arbitration ("Arbitral Court"), can entertain application for execution of arbitral award, even if the award debtor or assets are situated out side its jurisdiction.

Justice G.S Patel was considering a group of 3 separate execution applications2, which were clubbed together because seat of arbitration in all three of them was in Mumbai giving courts in Mumbai supervisory jurisdiction over arbitration, whereas the assets of the respondents (award debtors) were situated outside Mumbai.

Supervisory Jurisdiction Vs Territorial Jurisdiction

Section 36 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 ("Arbitration Act"), provides that an arbitral award has to be enforced in accordance with the provision of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (the "Code"), as if it was a decree of the court. Section 39 of the Code, which governs execution of decree, prohibits any court, which passed a decree, from executing thee same if the person or asset is out side the jurisdiction of that court.

It was contended on behalf of the award debtors or respondents that if the arbitral award has to be enforced in accordance with the provision of the Code as if it was a decree of the court, then restrictions under Section 39 of the Code would be applicable. Therefore, the Arbitral Court couldn't execute the arbitration award if the award debtor or asset falls outside the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Court. In other words, the supervisory role of the Arbitral Court ceases to exist if the award is to be enforced outside its territorial jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court of India in Sundaram Finance Ltd v Abdul Samad & Anr3 considered the following questions:

(i) Whether an arbitral award is required to be first filed in the court having jurisdiction over the arbitration proceedings for execution and then to obtain transfer of the decree;

(ii) Whether the award can be straightaway filed and executed in the Court where the assets are located.

The Supreme Court held that the claimant is not required to obtain a transfer of the decree from the Arbitral Court, which has the jurisdiction over the arbitration proceeding. Instead, the application for enforcement of an award (through execution) could be filed, wherever in the country a decree can be executed. The confusion arose because this judgment doesn't explicitly state that the award could be executed directly through the Arbitral Court. This was argued that that Arbitral Court does not have the authority to execute arbitral award beyond its territorial jurisdiction.

Current judgment rejected this argument outright and held that according to Sundaram Finance the Arbitration Act transcends all territorial barriers. Section 39 of the Code is a limitation on territoriality and hence, such restriction is not applicable for execution of arbitration award. The High Court differentiated arbitration award from a civil court decree as follows:

"Arbitration is not a distinct judicial forum like a subordinate Court. It is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism with a standalone statute. It is intended to provide for the speedy resolution of disputes and enforcement with a minimal level of judicial intervention. The essence of arbitration is an agreement unlike a civil proceeding in a law Court."

The Court explained the purpose of equating arbitration award with civil court decree under Section 36 of the Arbitration Act is to ensure smooth enforcement of arbitral awards. This objective will be defeated if the limitation and restriction on territoriality of the Code (as provided in Section 39 of the Code), which are applicable to civil court decree, is also made applicable to Arbitration Award. Section 36(1) has to be read not in isolation but also as part of the framework of the Arbitration Act. The Court summarized this as follows:

"The correct view is, therefore, that while there may be certain restrictions on the enforcement of a decree of a Civil Court, since the Arbitration Act 'actually transcends all territorial barriers' as Sundaram Finance said, those restrictions cannot be made to apply to the enforcement of arbitral awards without resulting in a completely incongruous situation. Award holders have a jurisdictional choice that decree holders do not."

Accordingly, the Court held that award holder has an option to choose the court for enforcement of arbitration award. He can enforce the award through Arbitral Court even if the award debtor or asset is out side the territorial jurisdiction of the court. In other words, the Arbitral Court will continue to have jurisdiction during the execution stage of award also even beyond its territorial jurisdiction.

Concluding Remark

This judgment is significant even though it is not laying down any new precedent but only a continuation of earlier judgments like Sundaram Finance, Bharat Aluminium Company v Kaiser Aluminium Technical Services Inc4 and Gemini Bay Transcription Pvt Ltd., Nagpur v Integrated Sales Service Ltd5.

The judgment removes any scope of confusion regarding jurisdictional issues of enforcement of arbitration. The judgment clarifies the objective equating an arbitral award with a decree is only to ensure smooth enforcement of award and not for the purpose of creating any restrictions. After all, one of the main objects of Arbitration Act for allowing the parties to choose the Arbitration Court is to ensure territorial neutrality. This purpose will be defeated, if the same court does not have jurisdiction to enforce the award.


[1] Section 2(1)(e)(i) of Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 defines the term Court as "the principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction in a district, and includes the High Court in exercise of its ordinary original civil jurisdiction, having jurisdiction to decide the questions forming the subject-matter of the arbitration if the same had been the subject-matter of a suit, but does not include any civil court of a grade inferior to such principal Civil Court, or any Court of Small Causes"

[2] Global Asia Venture Company v. Arup Parimal Deb Comm Execution Application No. 58 OF 2017

[3] (2018) 3 SCC 622.

[4] (2012) 9 SCC 552.

[5] 2018 (2) Mh LJ 329.

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

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

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
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