Arbitrator Can Grant Post-Award Interest On The Interest Amount Awarded: Supreme Court

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Arbitrator Can Grant Post-Award Interest On The Interest Amount Awarded

Case: UHL Power Company Ltd. vs State of Himachal Pradesh

Coram: CJI NV Ramana, AS Bopanna and Justices Hima Kohli

Case No.: CA 10341 OF 2011

Court Observation: “In the result, I am of the view that S.L. Arora case [State of Haryana v. S.L. Arora and Co. (2010) 3 SCC] is wrongly decided in that it holds that a sum directed to be paid by an Arbitral Tribunal and the reference to the award on the substantive claim does not refer to interest pendente lite awarded on the “sum directed to be paid upon award” and that in the absence of any provision of interest upon interest in the contract, the Arbitral Tribunal does not have the power to award interest upon interest, or compound interest either for the pre-award period or for the post-award period. Parliament has the undoubted power to legislate on the subject and provide that the Arbitral Tribunal may award interest on the sum directed to be paid by the award, meaning a sum inclusive of principal sum adjudged and the interest, and this has been done by Parliament in plain language.”

As the judgment in the case of S.L. Arora (supra), on which reliance has been placed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, has since been overruled by a three-Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd. (supra), the findings returned by the Appellate Court in the impugned judgment to the effect that the Arbitral Tribunal is not empowered to grant compound interest or interest upon interest and only simple interest can be awarded in favour of UHL on the principal amount claimed, is quashed and set aside. As a result, the findings returned in para 54(a) of the impugned judgment insofar as it relates to grant of the interest component, are reversed while restoring the arbitral award on the above aspect in favour of UHL.

In the instant case, we are of the view that the interpretation of the relevant clauses of the Implementation Agreement, as arrived at by the learned Sole Arbitrator, are both, possible and plausible. Merely because another view could have been taken, can hardly be a ground for the learned Single Judge to have interfered with the arbitral award. In the given facts and circumstances of the case, the Appellate Court has rightly held that the learned Single Judge exceeded his jurisdiction in interfering with the award by questioning the interpretation given to the relevant clauses of the Implementation Agreement, as the reasons given are backed by logic.

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Keywords

Arbitrator, Grant Post-Award Interest, Interest Amount Awarded


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