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—Sumes Dewan

The full chapter may be found by clicking on the PDF link to the left.

This paper critically analyses the challenges inherent in the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in India, with a particular focus on the complex exception of public policy. Governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, Sections 36 and 48(2) delineate grounds for challenging arbitral awards, with public policy serving as a significant parameter. The 2015 amendment sought to bring Indian arbitration practices in line with international standards, explicitly detailing grounds for setting aside awards on public policy, including fraud, contravention of fundamental policy, and conflict with morality and justice. However, the judicial landscape has witnessed nuanced shifts over time. The landmark Renusagar case initially established a pro-arbitration stance, limiting the grounds for refusing enforcement to contraventions of fundamental policy, interests of India, or justice and morality. Subsequently, the SAW Pipes case broadened the scope by introducing the contentious concept of Arbitral Awards being reviewed on their merits, leading to increased judicial intervention. Recent decisions, including Vijay Karia v. Prysmian Cavi E Sistemi and Cruz City 1 Mauritius Holdings v. Unitech Limited, underscored the fact that a breach must be so fundamentally uncompromisable that it qualifies as a violation of public policy. The paper highlights the need for a delicate balance required between judicial intervention and preserving the autonomy of arbitral awards, intending to align Indian practices with international standards, such as those observed in jurisdictions like Hong Kong and Singapore.

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