The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the appeal of Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure against the Bombay HC’s "erroneous" order that had stalled the payment of Rs 292-crore arbitration award to it. A Bench led by Justice RF Nariman posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.
Reliance had won an arbitration award of Rs 292 crore against the government of Goa in a case related to delayed payment of dues for electricity supplied by it from its 48 MW Goa power plant in Sancoale. The arbitration tribunal had on February 16 last year asked the state government to pay Rs 292 crore with 15% interest to Reliance Infrastructure by April 15, 2018.
However, the trial court had stayed the execution of the award and the same order was upheld by the HC on September 26. According to RInfra, the rate of energy between June 2013 and August 2014 was based on the varying prices of fuel and dollar exchange rate as was agreed to by the Goa government.
Challenging the HC order, the Ambani firm told the apex court that despite the SC’s ruling in the case of BCCI vs Kochi Cricket that an arbitration award must be executed like a money decree, the HC has stayed the execution on the grounds that the execution of a decree pertains to the realm of procedure, and that there is no substantive vested right in a judgment debtor to resist execution.
RInfra in its appeal claimed that the HC had taken away its vested right to execute the award by continuing the stay on the execution proceedings and operation of the arbitral award.
The company further submitted that the HC erred in continuing the stay on account of Rs 25 crore having been deposited and withdrawn by it. However, it said that it was entitled to the entire award amount of Rs 336.71 crore, i.e. the amount after adjusting Rs 25 crore from the final arbitral award amount along with interest as on August 31, 2019.