ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation on Friday opposed a plea filed by Devas Multimedia for enforcement of the award issued by the International Court of Arbitration on grounds that the Delhi High Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the plea.
The Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s arbitration body had asked Antrix to pay damages worth $672 million to Devas Multimedia for “unlawfully” terminating the deal, citing national security.
“The deal was in Bengaluru, the contract was in Bengaluru, all assets are in Bengaluru, how is the plea maintainable in Delhi?” argued senior advocate Gourab Banerjee, who appeared for Antrix.
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The bench of Justice J R Midha, which is hearing the plea filed by Devas for securing the award, also raised the issue of whether a plea to secure assets to ensure that the award amount could be paid would be maintained against the government.
The former Additional Solicitor General also argued that the plea filed by Devas was “unusual” as it had sought enforcement of the award through securities and bank guarantee, even though the award was against a government entity.
“The counsel for Antrix says that no case for invocation of Section 9 is made out. The counsel also states that this court lacks territorial jurisdiction… both parties to file brief submissions with judgments,” said the court. “Prima facie section 9 cannot apply,” the bench said. Both Antrix and Devas have been directed to file their written submissions on the maintainability of the suit. The preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for November 20.
The counsel for Devas, however, argued that the award had been calculated according to standards followed internationally. The lawyer also raised the issue of media reporting on the case, claiming that the company had not wanted details of the case in the public domain and blamed “Antrix officials” for the leak. The bench also asked Antrix why it had not yet filed a plea challenging the award, to which Banerjee said that the government was “considering” the issue.