The Calcutta High Court has in Jaldhi Overseas Pte Ltd. v. Steer Overseas Pvt. Ltd.,recently upheld the enforcement of a foreign award, reiterating that courts should not substitute their views with those of the arbitral tribunal.
The case involved a dispute between two companies, Jaldhi Overseas and Steer Overseas. Jaldhi had offered to carry Steer’s cargo of iron ore fines from India to China. The parties had initially agreed on the terms of the contract in correspondence, but Steer later modified the terms. Jaldhi then issued a separate fixture notice to Steer’s subsidiary, Global Up International.
A dispute arose over the payment of the amounts due under the contract. Jaldhi initiated arbitral proceedings in Singapore, and the arbitrator issued a partial award in its favor. Steer challenged the award in the Calcutta High Court, arguing that there was no valid contract between the parties and that the award was in conflict with public policy.
The High Court rejected both of Steer’s arguments. It held that the arbitrator had properly determined that there was a valid contract between the parties, and that the award did not violate public policy. The court also noted that it had a very limited scope of review in cases involving foreign awards, and that it should not substitute its own views with those of the arbitral tribunal.
The decision of the Calcutta High Court is a welcome development for the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in India. It reaffirms the principle that courts should give great deference to the decisions of arbitral tribunals, and that they should only intervene in limited circumstances.