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DMRC vs DAMEPL: A contest stranger than fiction

As for the significance, the verdict would surely change the way courts look at the arbitral awards from now on. The inordinate certitude about piousness and sanctity of the awards is likely to be shaken. The upside to the setting aside of an arbitral award at the curative stage is that the courts would not shy away from examining the awards at the initial stages, perusing the documents and evidence filed by the parties, interpreting the contract and consequently correcting any blatant errors by the arbitrators. While legitimizing the appraisal of the award at the stage of Section 34 and 37, the Court has delimited the scrutiny under Article 136 to only “testing whether the court acting under Section 37 exceeded its jurisdiction by failing to apply the correct tests to assail the award,” thereby thwarting any attempts of the Supreme Court to resurrect or set aside the award after an independent assessment from the standpoint of Section 34.

The Supreme Court has yet again conferred absolute primacy to the contract between the parties and held that what has been agreed on the dotted lines cannot be overlooked, diluted or misinterpreted by anybody at all. The judgments that have laid down that an arbitrator is the master of the factual arena and that interpretation of the contract lies exclusively in the domain of the arbitrator can no longer be mechanically invoked. The factual findings and interpretation of the contract given by the arbitrator can be assailed and set aside at any stage of the proceeding.

Source: Barandbench

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