The Karnataka High Court (Dharwad Bench), has observed that it is not mandatory to file signed copy of the award along with application under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996.

The Court was deciding a writ petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution challenging an order passed by the Principal District and Sessions Judge.

A Single Bench of Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum held, “… what can be inferred is that Section 34 application must be accompanied by copy of the award and not necessarily a signed copy of the award at the stage of filing of the application under Section 34. However, if applicant intends to succeed and wishes to seek setting aside of an arbitral award, there shall be no impediment to produce the signed copy of award during the pendency of the proceedings.”

Advocate Archana A. Magadum appeared for the petitioners while Advocate Rakesh Bilki appeared for the respondents.

Facts of the Case -

The petition was filed against the order of the court passed on an application filed under Section 151 of CPC, wherein the petitioners’ application was filed requesting the court to dismiss the application filed under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (A&C Act) as not maintainable as application under Section 34 was not accompanied by a certified copy of the award and the same was produced during the pendency of the proceedings and after expiry of the period of limitation indicated under Section 34(3).

The Court having examined the rival contentions, declined to entertain the application filed on the ground that application filed under Section 34 is accompanied by the photocopy of a signed copy of an award and therefore, objections raised by the petitioners herein was over-ruled by the Court below. The said order is under challenge.

The High Court in the above context of the case noted, “I am of the view that Courts are required to adopt more liberal approach while considering the mandatory requirements relating to filing of Section 34 application. What the Courts should normally scrutinize while registering Section 34 application is to ascertain whether application is filed without signatures of either the party or its authorized or appointed counsel and affidavits are duly signed, verified and attested. The applicants have to strictly adhere to the above said requirements.”

The Court further said that it has also taken cognizance of the fact that the application is filed when the matter was set down for arguments and that in previous round of litigation, it had directed to dispose of the application within a period of three months.

“The learned Judge while rejecting the application has rightly noticed that these applications are filed only to drag the matter. … I am not inclined to entertain the grounds urged in the instant writ petition”, concluded the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the writ petition.

Cause Title- T. Younis & Ors. v. National Highways Authority of India & Ors.

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