It is no news that the Indian judiciary seems to be overburdened with the number of cases that arise daily in addition to the already existing backlog, which has also seemingly increased over time. When the court deals with cases that need a short-term solution before it can move before another court for a detailed trial, more often than not, the parties to such a case are offered what is known as interim relief. Interim relief is a temporary solution with which the parties are expected to work before the lawsuit is moved to trial for proper hearing.
Section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 2015.
The parties of a case can move to a court and apply for any temporary solution to alleviate the damages of a case under Section 9 of the Act. This section covers various measures such as the appointment of guardians for minors, interim custody of products, payment of arbitration amount, among other things. Still, it is not limited to a particular set of solutions. The last clause of this section permits the court to make an order and pass it for interim relief, so long as it is justiciable and in compliance with legal goodness.
Applicability of Section 9
- Interim measures should be pled fore before the enforcement of the arbitral award under Section 36
- Suppose a more efficacious remedy can be made available under Section 17. In that case, the courts can defer the hearing and transfer it to a tribunal for resolution and interim relief granted. In a contrary situation, the court can interfere and instead interfere and entertain the petition under Section 9 (seen in the case of Bhubaneshwar Expressways Pvt. Ltd. v. NHAI.)
- As per the Act and under Section 9, only the courts can pass interim orders against third parties of a dispute as Section 17 does not empower tribunals to do the same.
The scope of this section has been under scrutiny for a while now, significantly because it does not restrict the powers of the courts in terms of creating their interim relief measure, in addition to which the provision of Section 17 of the Act also empowers an Arbitral Tribunal to exercise the same power in their capacity. Section 9 and Section 17 of the Act create a field for powerplay between the Courts and the Tribunals, where there is evidence alluding to inconsistencies in the delivery of opinions from either body of justice. However, after clarifications by the Apex court through various judgments, it has been understood in the legal sphere that while the tribunals have powers under Section 17, these powers are far more limited than those given to the courts under Section 9.
On the restriction of the powers of the court vis-à-vis the passing of interim orders, the decision made in the 2007 case of Adhunik Steels Ltd vs. Orissa Manganese And Minerals, the court recognized that while the scope of powers resting with the court was broad, they were not unrestricted and that there were principles in existence which governed this power.
With various facets surrounding the applicability of the interim measures that the courts can pass under Section 9, it can be said that the Courts have made very cautious and judicious use of these powers and have been highly effective in their operation.
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