–Report by Rhea Mistry
In Ircon International Ltd. v. Reacon Engineers (India) Ltd., on 10th June 2019, the petitioner filed the petition under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, contesting an arbitral award given by a Single Arbitrator-Led Arbitral Tribunal. Concerning the agreement made on 16.06.2010, there was a disagreement between the parties which made them opt for the arbitration settlement.
Contentions by the Respondent
The respondent contended that the petition filed by the petitioner was filed after the period for filing had expired. Under the Limitation Act, the period under which a petition shall be filed is three months and the petitioner filed the petition on 13th September 2019 when the last date to file was 12th September 2019. The petitioner has not submitted any legal paperwork asking for a delayed pardon. The respondents also asserted that initially when the petition was filed, there was no attachment made to it, i.e., contested award, statement of truth, and the vakalatnama was not attached. The petition was unsigned and when it was re-filed by the petitioner, it was after the court’s window for tolerating delays.
Referring to the case Union of India v. Bharat Biotech International Ltd. and INX News Pvt. Ltd. v Pier One Construction Pvt. Ltd. to support his contentions, he stated that the petition that was filed on 24th October 2019 cannot be regarded as the same as filed on 13th September 2019.
Contentions by the Petitioner
The petitioner claimed that the contested award was received by him on 12th June 2019 and was delivered on 10th June 2019. They filed the petition one day after the expiration of filing the petition i.e., on 13th September 2019, and as per section 34(3) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the petition can be filed within three months from the date of receipt of the arbitral award.
The petition that was filed on 13th September 2019 was 73 pages and the registry returned the petition on 16th September 2019 stating that it was defective and did not contain any attestation on affidavits, awards, documents, or statement of truth, there were also no bookmarks, and the pages were without page numbers. The petition was refiled on 24th October 2019, with a total of 1325 pages. The registry again said the petition is still defective and returned it on 30th October 2019 to be re-filed. It was refiled on 6th November 2019 and again returned on 13th November 2019 with defects, it was refiled on 14th November 2019 and returned yet again as defective on 15th November 2019 and refiled on 18th November 2019 to cure some defects, and finally was refiled on 19th November 2019.
The counsel of the petitioner claimed that even though there was a delay of one day, he applied to explain that he had met with an accident and could not attend to file the petition for three weeks.
There was a delay of thirty-seven days in filing the petition, so the petitioner has submitted absolutions for the delay of thirty-seven days in re-filing the petition but did not submit absolution for the delay in filing the initial petition.
The initial petition filed on 13th September 2019 was only seventy-three pages and did not contain any attachments which were mandatory such as the contested award and the statement of truth. On 24th October 2019 the petition was filed which contained 1325 pages with all the proper attachments, attested, signed, and formatted as prescribed.
The court stated in favor of the respondent’s contention that the petition which was filed on 24th October 2019 cannot be considered the same petition filed on 13th September 2019 as they are completely different. The court noted that the petition as filed on 13th September did not contain the impugned award or vakalatnama. Considering the same, the case of Union of India v. Bharat Biotech International Ltd is substantially applicable to the facts of this case and so the filings made on 13th September 2019 cannot be considered a valid submission.
The filing made on 24th October 2019 is considered the first date of filing in the present petition. This filing is made after three months period of filing and as per the Limitation Act, it is beyond the period the court can condone.
The petition stands dismissed due to the limitation and all the pending applications are also dismissed with this petition.