Login : Advocate | Client
Home Post Your Case My Account Law College Law Library

Report No. 246

Arbitrability of Fraud and Complicated Issues of Fact

50. The issue of arbitrability of fraud has arisen on numerous occasions and there exist conflicting decisions of the Apex Court on this issue. While it has been held in Bharat Rasiklal v. Gautam Rasiklal, (2012) 2 SCC 144 that when fraud is of such a nature that it vitiates the arbitration agreement, it is for the Court to decide on the validity of the arbitration agreement by determining the issue of fraud, there exists two parallel lines of judgments on the issue of whether an issue of fraud is arbitrable.

In this context, a 2 judge bench of the Supreme Court, while adjudicating on an application under section 8 of the Act, in Radhakrishnan v. Maestro Engineers, 2010 1 SCC 72 held that an issue of fraud is not arbitrable. This decision was ostensibly based on the decision of the three judge bench of the Supreme Court in Abdul Qadir v. Madhav Prabhakar, AIR 1962 SC 406.

However, the said 3 judge bench decision (which was based on the finding in Russel v. Russel [1880 14 Ch. 'D. 471]) is only an authority for the proposition that a party against whom an allegation of fraud is made in a public forum, has a right to defend himself in that public forum. Yet, following Radhakrishnan, it appears that issues of fraud are not arbitrable.

51. A distinction has also been made by certain High Courts between a serious issue of fraud and a mere allegation of fraud and the former has been held to be not arbitrable (See Ivory Properties and Hotels Private Ltd v. Nusli Neville Wadia, 2011 (2) Arb LR 479 (Bom); CS Ravishankar v. CK Ravishankar, 2011 (6) Kar LJ 417).

The Supreme Court in Meguin GMBH v. Nandan Petrochem Ltd., 2007 (5) R.A.J 239 (SC), in the context of an application filed under section 11 has gone ahead and appointed an arbitrator even though issues of fraud were involved. Recently, the Supreme Court in its judgment in Swiss Timing Ltd v. Organising Committee, Arb. Pet. No. 34/2013 dated 28.05.2014, in a similar case of exercising jurisdiction under section 11, held that the judgment in Radhakrishnan is per incuriam and, therefore, not good law.

52. The Commission believes that it is important to set this entire controversy to a rest and make issues of fraud expressly arbitrable and to this end has proposed amendments to section 16.

Amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 Back

Client Area | Advocate Area | Blogs | About Us | User Agreement | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Media Coverage | Contact Us | Site Map
powered and driven by neosys