This week, we take a look at a recent decision of the Bombay High Court (Court) in Imax Corporation v. E-City Entertainment (I) Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.In this case, three foreign arbitral awards were brought before the Court in a combined petition for enforcement and execution, under section 47 and 49 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Act). As the petition had been made approximately 10 years after the passing of the final award, the Court was required to determine what would be the limitation period for such a petition. The Respondent contended that there was no specific provision dealing with limitation for enforcement of foreign awards, and hence the residuary provision would apply, which provides a limitation period of three years. On the other hand, the Petitioner argued that the limitation period should be the same as for execution of a decree, i.e. twelve years. In deciding this issue, the Court relied on the Supreme Court's decision in Fuerst Day Lawson v. Jindal Exports Ltd., wherein it had been held that a foreign award is "stamped as a decree" and that the Arbitration Act does not mandate two separate proceedings, i.e. one for enforcement and one for execution, in respect of a foreign award.
Hence, given that the present petition was for enforcement as well as execution, and keeping the object of the Act in mind, the Court opined that the limitation period for such a joint application would be twelve years.
The Court also reiterated the position of law that, in any case, as challenge to the foreign awards under section 34 of the Act had been pending before it, such period would have been excluded for the purpose of calculating whether the petition was filed within limitation, notwithstanding that there was a stay on such challenge.
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