Arbitration award against Jackie Shroff set aside

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In a recent judgment in the case of Jackie Kukubhai Shroff v Ratnam Sudesh Iyer, Bombay High Court, while allowing the petition filed by actor Jackie Shroff, set aside the award passed against him by a sole arbitrator. It held that the impugned award was “completely unreasonable” and “perverse”. The court added: “It is partly based on no evidence, partly on non-application of mind, and partly by a wholesale misapplication of law resulting in a miscarriage of justice. All in all, it shocks the conscience of the court.”

In the case, Shroff and Sudesh Iyer were shareholders in a company called Atlas, which partnered with the Sony group in 1995 and formed a joint venture company called Sony Entertainment Television India to set up the Sony TV channel in India, named SET. The company was later renamed Multi Screen Media (MSM).

In 2005, Iyer requested Shroff to sign a document giving mandate to Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) for the sale of MSM’s shares held by Atlas, along with an authority to apply such sale proceeds for the repayment of a loan of US$93 million taken by a company called Grandway Global Holdings. Shroff refused to sign the document as he had no direct or indirect interest in Grandway.

In April 2010, Shroff claimed to have received a notice from an international law firm with an attachment of a placement instruction referring to a bridge loan agreement executed on 10 June 2005 between Grandway and SCB. The placement instruction purported to bear Shroff’s signature, which he claimed he did not sign.

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The dispute digest is compiled by Bhasin & Co, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at lbhasin@gmail.com. Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.

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