Time of Essence

Welspun Specialty Solutions Limited was formerly known as Remi Metals Gujarat Limited.

Arbitral Tribunal held, merely having a clause in contract making ‘time of essence’ would not be determinative. Learned Senior Counsel, appearing for Remi Metals (now Welspun), submitted, view taken by Arbitral Tribunal was reasonable, plausible and can be sustained.

We need to ascertain scope of Section 34 of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 before 2015 Amendment Act.

In our considered opinion, ‘time not being of essence’, as determined by Arbitral Tribunal, was beyond reproach. It is now settled, whether ‘time is of essence’ in a contract has to be culled out from reading of entire contract as well as surrounding circumstances. Merely, an explicit clause may not be sufficient to make ‘time of essence’.  Arbitral Tribunal’s interpretation of contractual clauses having extension procedure and imposition of liquidated damages are good indicators, ‘time was not of essence’.

Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice N.V. Ramana, Welspun Specialty Solutions Limited v. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, [Civil Appeal Nos. 2826-2827 of 2016].