Delhi Airport Metro: SC’s relief to DMRC, quashes arbitral award in favour of Anil Ambani firm

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Public TV English
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NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed its 2021 judgment that directed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to pay Reliance Infrastructure subsidiary, Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL), an arbitral award running into a few thousand crores.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant also directed that any amount deposited by the DMRC has to be refunded.

“The part of the awarded amount, if any, paid by the petitioner (DMRC) as a result of coercive action is liable to be restored in favor of the petitioner,” the judgment stated.

The bench held that the “division bench applied the correct test in holding that the arbitral award suffered from the vice of perversity and patent illegality”.

It said the September 2021 judgment of the apex court interfering with the 2019 High Court judgment ‘resulted in a miscarriage of justice”.

“In the specific facts and circumstances of this case…we have come to the conclusion that this court erred in interfering with the decision of the division bench of the High Court. The judgment of the division bench provided more than adequate reasons to come to the conclusion that the arbitral award suffered from perversity and patent illegality,” the verdict of the top court stated.

It further added, “By setting aside the (2019) judgment of the division bench, this court (in September 2021) restored a patently illegal award which saddled a public utility with an exorbitant liability. This has caused a grave miscarriage of justice…”

The arbitral tribunal award was upheld by a single-judge bench of the Delhi High Court in 2018, but it was struck down by a division bench of the High Court in 2019.

The Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infra approached the Supreme Court against the High Court’s division bench decision striking down the award.
A two-judge bench of the top court in 2021 reversed the High Court judgment by the division bench and restored the arbitral tribunal award. The DMRC’s plea seeking review of the September 2021 judgment too was dismissed in November 2021.

Thereafter, in 2022, DMRC moved a curative petition questioning the September 2021 judgment on the point of law.

With interest, the award amount had swelled to approximately Rs 8,000 crore. (ANI)

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