Arbitral awards: estimating the period of limitations

By Bidan Chandran and Pooja Kanal, Singhania & Partners

Does the period of limitation for making an application to set aside an arbitral award (under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996) begin from when a party receives a copy of the award by any means and from any source or from the date the arbitrator delivers a signed copy of the award?

Ruling in State of Maharashtra & Ors v Ark Builders Pvt Ltd, on 28 February, the Supreme Court held that under section 31(5) of the Arbitration Act, the delivery of an arbitral award is not a matter of mere formality but a matter of substance.

Only after section 31 is complied with does termination of proceedings under section 32 of the act arise. As such, the period of limitation prescribed under section 34(3) of the act would begin only from the date a signed copy of the award is delivered to or received by the party.

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Bidan Chandran is a partner and Pooja Kanal is an associate at Singhania & Partners, which is a full-service national law practice. The firm has offices in New Delhi, Noida, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai.


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