Today, the Central government has sought more time from the Delhi High Court to clarify whether or not the Government of India would challenge the arbitral award against it in the proceedings initiated by Vodafone under the India-Netherlands Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA). As the same has to go through the Empowered Committee of the cabinet.
The appeal was hearing by the Division Bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw & Asha Menon after the centre has appealed against the single-judge’s refusal to restrain Vodafone from initiating second arbitration proceedings under the India-UK BIPA when the proceedings under the India-Netherlands BIPA were still pending.
Recently, in the first arbitration proceedings, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands has ruled in favour of Vodafone and held that the telco was entitled to fair and equitable treatment under the India-Netherlands BIPA.
Additional Solicitor General, Chetan Sharma is representing the Central government. And it was the Centre’s grievance before the High Court that initiation of second arbitration proceedings under the India-United Kingdom BIPA amounted to an abuse of process.
Appearing for Vodafone, Senior Advocate Harish Salvehas said that there was no cause left for the continuation of the present injunction proceedings. And Vodafone would not proceed with the second arbitration under the India-United Kingdom BIPA unless the award under the India-Netherlands BIPA is set aside by competent authority.
“It (the award) can be challenged in Singapore. Singapore courts will not condone delay because Indian Cabinet is taking time,” he remarked.
In view of the circumstances, the court asked whether the appeal could be disposed of and be revived at an appropriate time, if required.
Affording time to the Central government counsel to seek instructions on the same, the court adjourned hearing till December 8.