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India can’t be international arbitration hub if there is no award enforcement: SC on delay in payment of award to DAMEPL

New Delhi, India can’t be an international arbitration hub if there is no enforcement of award declared by tribunals, the Supreme Court said on Monday. The observation came while hearing a plea seeking enforcement of an arbitration award in favour of Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL) to be paid by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

An arbitral tribunal had ruled in favour of DAMEPL, which had pulled out of running the Airport Express metro line over safety issues, and accepted its claim that running the operations on the line was not viable due to structural defects in the viaduct through which the train would pass.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Vikram Nath told Attorney General R Venkataramani that the award which was upheld by the top court has to be enforced.

“On one hand there are public speeches on making India an international arbitration hub and then there is no enforcement of award. The award upheld by Supreme Court has to be followed,” the bench observed orally.
The top court asked Venkataramani for a tentative timeline for payment of money to Reliance Infra that ran DAMEPL.

Venkataramani then sought four weeks and the apex court posted the matter for hearing on December 14.

The top court had on May 5 upheld a Delhi High Court order directing the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to pay over Rs 4,600 crore of arbitral award along with interest to the Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) in two equal installments in two months.

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