Stamping the Path to Validity: A Critical Analysis of Arbitration Agreements in Indian Legal Landscape

  • Yuman Islam and Naman Kasliwal
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  • Yuman Islam

    Student at Gujarat National Law University, India

  • Naman Kasliwal

    Student at Gujarat National Law University, India

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Arbitration is a widely used method for resolving commercial disputes. It comprises of an agreement between the parties, specifying that any dispute arising between parties shall be referred to arbitration. If an agreement is found to be unstamped or insufficiently stamped, it may not be enforced as per the provisions of Indian Stamp Act, 1899. However, the question concerning the validity of the arbitration clause in that agreement has been a source of controversy since long and had resulted in conflicting views adopted by the Court in various judgements. An analysis of these contrasting views is imperative to appreciate the evolution of Indian legal landscape regarding the validity of an unstamped arbitration agreement. This long running dispute has finally come to an end with the recent verdict passed by a 7 Judge bench in the case of In Re: The Interplay between arbitration agreements under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, and the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. The court in this case clarified the position by ruling that a clause mandating the parties to refer their disputes to arbitration would not be hit by the provisions of the Stamp Act, and therefore, would be enforceable under the law. The judgement also clarified the position on various other aspects including the power of the Courts to intervene in the matter involving an unstamped arbitration agreement. The judgement has a lot of practical implications on the Indian arbitration framework and leaves certain questions unanswered as well. Overall, the judgement can be seen as a positive step taken by the Indian judiciary that shows their pro-arbitration mind set.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 3, Page 4320 - 4331


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