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In its recent judgment, the Supreme Court paved the way for the enforcement of a foreign arbitral award passed in 2001 against Hindustan Copper. (Centrotrade Minerals vs Hindustan Copper)
The Centro Trade saga came to an end, finally, on June 2 when the Supreme Court rendered its final and third judgment in favour of the foreign investor, Centro Trade Minerals and Metals Inc.
The Supreme Court finally declared that an Award dated September 29, 2001 passed in London was enforceable against Hindustan Copper.
There have been three rounds of litigation in the Centrotrade line of cases, leading to three significant judgment by the Supreme Court of India.
First Round culminating in Centrotrade Minerals and Metals Inc. v. Hindustan Copper Limited decided on May 9, 2006 (reported in (2006) 11 SCC 245). This judgment ended in a split decision between Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Tarun Chatterjee as regards the permissibility of a multi-tier arbitration procedure.
Second Round culminating in Centrotrade Minerals and Metals Inc. v. Hindustan Copper Limited decided on December 15, 2016 (reported in (2017) 2 SCC 228). Here, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Madan Lokur and comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Agrawal upheld the legality of a two tier arbitration mechanism.
Third Round where judgment was reserved vide order dated March 5 this year by a three-judge bench comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, S Ravindra Bhat, and V Ramasubramanian and was delivered on June 2 and was the ultimate judgment in the Centro Trade saga.
The issue in the third round was whether Hindustan Copper was unable to present its cases under Article V(1)(b) of the New York Convention and consequently whether the ex parte award could at all be enforced in India.
On facts, it was found that Hindustan Copper had been given adequate opportunity to present its case by its counsel Fox and Mandal. Thereafter, the Court considered authorities from all over the world and held that the award would be enforceable in India.
In this case, Centrotrade was led by Senior Advocate Gourab Banerji, and Overseas Associate at Essex Court Chambers, as well as Senior Advocate Siddharth Bhatnagar and were instructed by M/s Karanjawala and Co. team including Ruby Singh Ahuja, Vishal Gehrana, Shravan Sahny, and Ashutosh P. Shukla.
Hindustan Copper was led by Senior Advocate Harin Raval who was instructed by Advocate Nandini Sen Mukherjee.