Supreme Court holds that appeal against order refusing to condone delay under Section 34(3) of the Act is maintainable under Section 37(1)(c) of the Act
Chintels India Ltd. (“Appellant”) belatedly filed an application under Section 34(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) before a Single Judge of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi (“Court”) seeking to set aside an award dated 3 May 2019 passed by an arbitral tribunal. The Ld. Single Judge, vide judgment dated 4 June 2020, dismissed the Appellant’s application for condonation of delay. Consequently, the Appellant’s application under Section 34(1) was also dismissed.
Aggrieved by the aforementioned judgment, the Appellant approached the Division Bench of the Court by way of an appeal under Section 37(1)(c) of the Act read with Section 13 of the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015. In the said appeal, the issue before the Division Bench was whether an appeal against an order refusing to condone delay under Section 34(3) of the Act is maintainable under Section 37(1)(c) of the Act. The Division Bench, vide judgment dated 4 December 2020 (“Impugned Judgment”), dismissed the Appellant’s appeal by inter alia relying on the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in BGS SGS Soma JV v. NHPC Ltd. In Soma (supra), the Supreme Court held that an appeal under Section 37 of the Act is not maintainable when an application under Section 34 is simply returned on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction, since the same does not amount to an order refusing to set aside the arbitral award under Section 34.
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