The newly enacted Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2021 is the fourth change made in the Indian arbitration regime in the last six years. With amendments being made this frequently, one would expect them to iron out the ambiguities and make the arbitral process smooth. However, much like its predecessors, the 2021 Amendment Act seems to have distanced itself from this objective. The chief offender in this regard is the fresh introduction of the “fraud or corruption” standard allowing unconditional stay on the ever so difficult and exacting, enforcement of domestic awards pending challenge under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
Against this backdrop, Naresh Thacker, Partner and Samarth Saxena, Associate at Economic Laws Practice (ELP) have co-authored an article titled ‘Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2021: The Final Word on Unconditional Stay on Enforcement of Challenged Domestic Awards?’ which has been published by The Indian Arbitration Law Review, NLIU Bhopal in their Vol 4, 2022. The authors extend their gratitude for the assistance of Ms. Sharmin Kapadia who is also an Associate at ELP. This article critically analyzes the effect of the 2021 Amendment Act on the enforcement of domestic awards and argues that the 2021 Amendment Act is cryptic and capable of being misused and thus, would require extensive judicial interpretation.