The Hon'ble Delhi High Court rejects the objections of NHAI under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 regarding an Arbitral Award which was passed in favour of PNC-BEL (JV). The petition [O.M.P. (COMM) 41/2019, decided on 24th May, 2019] was filed by NHAI challenging the Arbitral Award dated 20.09.2018 passed by the Arbitral Tribunal adjudicating the disputes that have arisen between PNC-BEL (JV) and NHAI in relation to the Agreement dated 04.02.2005, executed between the parties for the Project for Widening and Strengthening of National Highway No. 24 from Km 93.00 to Km 149.25 to four lane standards (Garhmukteshwar to Moradabad) & ROB at Km 181 of NH-24 and Bridges on NH-87 in Uttar Pradesh (Package-II).
PNC-BEL (JV) is a joint venture of M/s PNC Infratech Ltd. (PNC) and M/s Bhageeratha Engineering Ltd. (BEL).
The Contract Price was of Rs. 221,42,18,567/-. The date of commencement of work was 31.03.2005 and the date for scheduled completion of work was 30.09.2007. The work with respect to Widening and Strengthening of NH-24 from Km 93.00 to Km 149.25, that is, a total of 56.25 Km, to four lanes standard was completed by the PNC-BEL(JV) on 15.07.2009, that is, after delay of 22 months from the scheduled completion date. As far as the ROB work is concerned, the same was completed on 10.10.2012, that is, after a delay of almost 45 months.
It is PNC-BEL(JV)'s case that the NHAI delayed the project on various counts like, late handing over of unhindered and unencumbered RoW, change of alignment, failure of NHAI to co-ordinate regarding cutting of trees, delay in providing the drawings, delay in approving the extension of time requests, etc. The Arbitral Tribunal after carefully going through the contentions of both the parties and based on the available evidence, awarded a sum of Rs.104 Crores (approximately) excluding interest.
NHAI challenged the Award on various grounds, however, the Hon'ble Court founds that there exists no ground to interfere with the Award and thereby dismissed the said Petition of NHAI. The Hon'ble Court on the date of first listing of the matter, also directed the NHAI to deposit 100% amount of the Award including interest and now while dismissing the Objections of NHAI, the Hon'ble Court was further pleased to direct for release of the said amount (approximately a sum of Rs.142 Crores) within eight weeks from the date of the Judgment, subject to any further Order.
PNC-BEL(JV) was represented by a team lead by Mr. Manoj K. Singh, Founding Partner of Singh & Associates(S&A), Mr. Nilava Bandyopadhyay, Senior Partner of Singh & Associates(S&A), Mr. Rahul Pandey and Mr. Adhip Roy, Associates at Singh & Associates(S&A).