It was in the Bhatia International v Bulk Trading judgment that the Indian Supreme Court laid down the principle that courts in India would have a right to provide interim relief in foreign-seated arbitrations unless otherwise agreed in writing by the parties.
Therefore, earlier, the Indian Courts were able to grant interim relief pending arbitration, set aside arbitral awards, etc., even if the arbitration was conducted outside India, unless the parties by mutual consent chose expressly or impliedly to exclude the applicability of Part I of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
However, this position was overruled following the decision of the Supreme Court in Bharat Aluminium and Co v Kaiser Aluminium and Co (BALCO) but only prospectively. In the BALCO judgment, a five-judge constitutional bench of the Apex Court held that Part I of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was applicable only to all the arbitrations that take place within the territory of India. However, the BALCO judgment was made applicable only for disputes arising out of arbitration agreements and/or arbitration agreements entered into after 6 September 2012.