Supreme Court Sets Aside ₹2,800-Cr Arbitral Award To Anil Ambani Firm On DMRC Plea - Vibes Of India

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Supreme Court Sets Aside ₹2,800-Cr Arbitral Award To Anil Ambani Firm On DMRC Plea

| Updated: April 10, 2024 13:26

The Supreme Court set aside a ₹2,800 crore arbitral award in favour of the Anil Ambani firm, Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) against the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in a dispute over Delhi Airport Express Line.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud with Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant allowed the curative petition filed by DMRC against a September 2021 judgment of the top court.

The court effectively restored a judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court which had ruled in favour of DMRC before the Supreme Court had set aside the same in September 2021.

“The curative plea must be and is allowed. It is restored to the position when the Division Bench (of High Court) order was passed. The amounts deposited by the petitioner (DAMEPL) shall be refunded. Any amount paid by petitioner as part of coercive action has to be refunded,” the Court ordered.

The Court clarified that its curative jurisdiction should not be used to open floodgate.

However, in the specific facts and circumstances of the case, the Court said that the Supreme Court erred in interfering with the Division Bench order of the HC which had set aside the arbitral award.

“Interference of supreme court had led to grave miscarriage of justice,” the Supreme Court said.

In its 2021 judgment, the apex court had upheld the ₹2,800 crore arbitral award in favour of the Anil Ambani firm.

DAMEPL is the special purpose vehicle of Reliance Infrastructure. The arbitration tribunal award is worth over 46.6 billion rupees ($632 million) including interest, according to Reliance Infrastructure’s annual report.

The case pertains to a 2008 concession agreement between DAMEPL and DMRC for Delhi Airport Express on a Build–operate–transfer (BOT) basis.

DAMEPL terminated the agreement in 2012 citing various structural defects in the metro line which were allegedly not cured by DMRC despite being pointed out by DAMEPL.

DMRC invoked an arbitration clause seeking to initiate arbitration. The main issue that arose for determination before the arbitral tribunal constituted under the concession agreement was the validity of the termination notice dated October 8, 2012.

DMRC claimed that the termination notice issued by DAMEPL is illegal, as DMRC had taken various steps for honouring its obligations under the concession agreement.

In 2017, Arbitral Tribunal awarded damages to the DAMEPL and directed DMRC to pay ₹2,800 crore plus interest.

In 2018, a single-judge of the Delhi High Court upheld the award but the same was overturned by a Division Bench on appeal.

The Supreme Court in appeal overturned the High Court Division Bench judgment and restored the award.

A review petition against the same was dismissed leading to the instant plea.

Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Harish Salve, Kapil Sibal, JJ Bhatt, and Prateek Seksaria, with advocates Mahesh Agarwal, Rishi Agrawala, Shri Venkatesh, Megha Mehta Agarwal, Pranjit Bhattacharya, Madhavi Agarwal, Suhael Buttan, Vineet Kumar, Manisha Singh, Nishant Chothani and EC Agrawala appeared for the Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited.

Attorney General (AG) R Venkataramani, and Senior Advocates KK Venugopal, Parag Tripathi and Maninder Singh with advocates Tarun Johri, Ankur Gupta, Vishwajeet Tyagi, Srinivasan Ramaswamy, Chitvan Singhal, Ashita Chawla, Ankur Talwar, Arushi Mishra, Ameyavikrama Thanvi and Kartikey Aggarwal appeared for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

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