Supreme Court Ruling on Arbitration: Non-filing of original Arbitration Agreement is not a condition for setting aside the Arbitration Application

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The case between Ananthesh Bhakta Vs. Nayana A.Bhakta has led the Supreme Court to clarify that in accordance to Section 8(2) of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the application of arbitration will not be rejected on the ground that the parties failed to file the original arbitration agreement along with the application. But, they must bring forward the original or certified agreement before the court at the time when the court is judging the application.

A division bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal and Askok Bhushan also declared that partners and their rightful claimants bind by any unregistered partnership agreement can mutually settle their disputes by way of arbitration.

In a partition suit before the district court, it was found that both the defendants have filed an arbitration application as per Section 8(1) of the said Act and in pursuance to the arbitration agreement mentioned in the retirement deed as well as partnership deed, as signed and agreed by the partners. Hence, both district court and high court ordered to resolve their dispute via arbitration and in accordance to the said arbitration agreement.

The said suit was later appealed before the Apex court, whereupon, the Court concluded that arbitration agreement is necessary to entertain the arbitration application and proceedings but its non-filing along with the application is not the ground for rejecting the arbitration application. The application will be entertained only if it is accompanied by the original or certified arbitration agreement.

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