SC stays Devas arbitration proceedings against Antrix

Court listed it for 'further discussion',but arbitration proceedings have been derailed for now.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2012 12:48:30 am

Three days before it was to begin,the arbitration proceedings initiated by Devas Multimedia against Antrix Corporation,the marketing arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO),under the rules of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC),were stayed by the Supreme Court.

In an order on Monday,a Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Surinder Singh Nijjar allowed Antrix’s petition of seeking a stay on the arbitration process that was slated for today and tomorrow.

“We are passing this order in order to do complete justice between the parties,despite the objection raised by Harish N Salve,learned senior counsel appearing for the respondent,that such an order could not be made under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996,” the Bench ruled.

Antrix had in 2005 signed an agreement with Devas,giving it access to part of India’s S-band spectrum to roll out mobile services through leased transponders on two ISRO satellites. The agreement was cancelled by Antrix last year,leading Devas to invoke arbitration proceedings under ICC rules to settle the dispute,as provided for in the agreement. But Antrix insisted that arbitration could not be held under ICC rules and moved the Supreme Court last year to seek a stay.

The matter was repeatedly adjourned for more than six months before Monday’s order. The court has listed it for “further discussion” on April 16,but the arbitration proceedings have been derailed for now. Sources said dates for the first round of arbitration,April 12 and 13,had been fixed long ago and a fresh schedule can take a long time even if the court allows the proceedings.

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