ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2021: THE FINAL WORD ON UNCONDITIONAL STAY ON ENFORCEMENT OF CHALLENGED DOMESTIC AWARDS?
Naresh Thacker & Samarth Saxena
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The newly enacted Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2021 is the fourth change made in the Indian arbitration regime in the last six years. With amendments being made this frequently, one would expect them to iron out the ambiguities and make the arbitral process smooth. However, much like its predecessors, the 2021 Amendment Act seems to have distanced itself from this objective. The chief offender in this regard is the fresh introduction of the “fraud or corruption” standard allowing unconditional stay on the ever so difficult and exacting, enforcement of domestic awards pending challenge under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
This article critically analyses the effect of the 2021 Amendment Act on the enforcement of domestic awards and argues that the 2021 Amendment Act is cryptic and capable of being misused and thus, would require extensive judicial interpretation.