SC allows DMRC’s plea against arbitral award of Rs 8,000 cr in favour of Reliance firm

In a major relief to the DMRC, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside its own judgement and held that the PSU firm was not obliged to pay over Rs 8,000 crore to the Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Ltd, a Reliance Infrastructure firm, in pursuance of a 2017 arbitral award.

Allowing the curative plea of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) against the 2021 judgement, a special bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud held that the top court erred in setting aside the Delhi High Court verdict.

A division bench of the Delhi High Court, in 2019, had set aside the arbitral award passed against the DMRC.

“By setting aside the Delhi High Court judgement, this court (SC) restored a patently illegal award which saddled a public utility with an exorbitant liability,” said the bench which also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

The bench said the earlier SC verdicts in the case resulted in a “miscarriage of justice” and warranted it to exercise the curative jurisdiction.

The verdict said the amounts deposited by the DMRC till date shall be refunded and restored the parties to their position in which they were on the date of pronouncement of the Delhi High Court verdict.

The detailed judgement is awaited.

The 2017 arbitral award was to the tune of Rs 7,200 crore and the amount along with the interest and other charges swelled up to over Rs 8,000 crore.

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