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Is an efficiently stamped sale agreement containing an arbitration clause enforceable?

Karnataka High Court in the case of Malchira C. Nanaiah v. Pathak Developers (P) Ltd.[1], discusses the issue of inefficient stamping of the stamped sale agreement and the validity of the arbitration clause.

The present petition is instituted under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act), praying to appoint a sole arbitrator in terms of the Arbitration clause contained in clause 6 of the Agreement dated 13-06-2014, and in compliance with Section 11(6) of the Act, to enter into the adjudication of disputes between the parties at the Arbitration and Conciliation Centre, Bengaluru.

The Counsel for the respondents argued that the sale agreement, dated 13-06-2014, which contains the Arbitration clause, is insufficiently stamped. As such, the same cannot be acted upon for any purpose whatsoever, including seeking the appointment of an Arbitrator. In support of the argument, reliance was placed on the decision of Supreme Court in SMS Tea Estates (P) Ltd. v. Chand Mari Tea Co. (P) Ltd., 2011 (14) SCC 66, which was further followed in the case of Garvare Wall Ropes Ltd. v. Coastal Marine Constructions, 2019 (9) SCC 209.

The Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the responsibility of paying the deficit stamp duty and penalty on the said sale agreement, on or before the first date of hearing before the Arbitral Tribunal is hereby undertaken by them and that they have no objection concerning the same.

While considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case, in addition to the position clarified in SMS Tea Estate and Garvare Wall Ropes, the Court appointed a sole arbitrator imposing necessary conditions concerning payment of stamp duty and penalty on the sale agreement. It was further said that the procedure adopted in the present case is restricted and limited to the instant case as it is rendered with the consent of both the parties and without prejudice to any of their rights.


[1] 2020 SCC OnLine Kar 1630.


This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being. Further, despite all efforts made to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information published, White Code VIA Mediation and Arbitration Centre shall not be responsible for any errors caused due to human error or otherwise.

  • validity of arbitration clause
  • inefficient stamping of sale agreement deed
  • importance of proper stamping

BY : Vanshika Gupta

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