"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Amaravati District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd. v. United India Fire and General Insurance

Decided by: RV Raveendran and KS Radhakrishnan. JJ
On: 15th April 2010

Amaravati entered into a contract with United India in 1976 for insuring against losses due to acts or omissions of Amaravati's employees.Disputes arose between Amaravati and United India regarding the quantum of reimbursable loss to be paid by United India to Amaravati.Amaravati appointed the sole arbitrator for resolution of the dispute. However, United India did not participate in the arbitration proceedings even after due notice of the arbitration. Hence, the arbitrator granted an ex parte award in favour of Amaravati in August 1983.

In January 1984, United India challenged the arbitrator's award under S 30 of the Arbitration Act, 1940. In June 1990, the civil court dismissed the petition for setting aside. On appeal, the High Court of Bombay allowed the appeal in February 2008.The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal and has confirmed the judgement of the High Court.

Thus, the dispute has finally been adjudicated upon after more than a quarter century from when it arose. And the courts in India have the audacity to blame the finely crafted Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 for 'loopholes', ambiguities' and what not!

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