A temporary solution, provided by a court of law to deal with the situation before the conclusion of any case has been reached, is known as an interim order. These are passed to mitigate an urgent issue at hand that requires immediate action and cannot be put off until the final judgment for that particular case has been reached. In legal jargon, interim orders are those which are passed lis pendes.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put the judiciary two steps behind in terms of its backlog. It became increasingly difficult to deal with the new cases that came in daily due to the lockdown conditions that were implemented throughout the country. The lockdown did not only impact the judicial matters that were pending before the court, but it also affected various aspects of the country, which were related not only to economic aspects but also social ones, one of them being the temporary shutdown of movie theatres.
Interim Orders, COVID-19 and Arbitration Cases.
Arise in the passing of interim orders even during arbitration cases was observed as the onset of the global pandemic. This was used to provide immediate relief for those parties who required short-term solutions before the disputes they were involved in could be dealt with in-depth. One of many such cases was the Dart Properties Pvt. Ltd. v. Cinema Ventures Pvt. Ltd. case, which ended up requiring an interim order to be passed by the Delhi High Court.
This particular case involved the disputes between two parties regarding leasing and renting issues which were resulted after both parties had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This MOU entailed a clause for the invocation of arbitration proceedings in the event of any dispute arising between them. The onset of the pandemic brought the parties into a disagreement, and the High Court of Delhi was approached because the respondent had defaulted in paying the rent as per the agreement between the parties, along with which the arbitration clause had also been ignored.
Although the case which was filed before the High Court of Delhi was meant to be carried out in the procedure of a trial, due to the backlog and the given circumstances of the case at hand, the Court instructed the parties to invoke the arbitration clause, which was mentioned in their MOU and attempt to resolve the existing disputes between each other via arbitration. Hence, it can be said that although arbitration was already a part of the agreement between the parties because it was not invoked in the first instance post the dispute arose, the Court ended up ordering arbitration as an interim order for dispute resolution before it took the matter into its own hands.
To temporarily pause the amount of workload which the judiciary had to be faced with during the pandemic, various courts across the country chose to provide disputing parties with temporary solutions in the form of interim orders to mitigate the emergent and urgent situations that needed that attention and hold off the issue until a better time for a fair trial could be made in a court of law.
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