The Plea of Limitation XIV: Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards / The Revival of Ray LIII

The issue of limitation for enforcement of foreign awards, being procedural in nature, is subject to the law of the forum where the foreign award is sought to be enforced.

The Arbitration Act, 1996 does not specify any period of limitation for filing an application for enforcement of a foreign award. Section 43 provides, The Limitation Act, 1963 shall apply to Arbitrations. The Limitation Act, 1963 also does not contain any specific provision for enforcement of a foreign award.

3-Judge Bench of this Court in The Kerala State Electricity Board, Trivandrum v. T.P. Kunhaliumma, (1976) 4 SCC 634 held that, the phrase ‘any other application’ in Article 137 cannot be interpreted, on the principle of ejusdem generis, to be an ‘application’ under The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The phrase ‘any other application’ would include a ‘petition’, within the word ‘application’, filed under any special enactment. This would be evident from Section 2(b). Article 137 stands in isolation from all other Articles in Part I of the Third Division of The Limitation Act, 1963.

The period of limitation for filing a petition for enforcement of a foreign award would be governed by Article 137 of the Limitation Act, 1963. Article 136 would not be applicable.

There are sufficient grounds to condone the delay, if any, on account of lack of clarity with respect to the period of limitation for enforcement of a foreign award.”

Hon’ble Justice Indu Malhotra, Government of India v. Vedanta Limited, [Civil Appeal No. 3185 of 2020].

IM