During an earlier hearing on 9 October, it had been submitted by lawyer Gourab Banerji that the Delhi high court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition. Photo: HT
During an earlier hearing on 9 October, it had been submitted by lawyer Gourab Banerji that the Delhi high court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition. Photo: HT

Antrix-Devas case: Delhi HC reserves verdict on challenge to maintainability of suit

Delhi HC reserved its verdict on the aspect of maintainability of a plea by Devas after an arbitral award ruled Antrix to pay damages worth $672 million to Devas for cancelling a contract 4 years ago

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on the aspect of maintainability of a plea brought by Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd after an arbitral award ruled Antrix Corp. Ltd to pay damages worth $672 million to Devas for cancelling a contract four years ago, citing national security reasons.

The total award includes interest (at the London inter-bank offered rate, or Libor, plus 4%) from 25 February 2011, making it $672 million. The tribunal also said that as of 14 September, Antrix is also liable to pay a post-award simple interest at 18% per annum (on $672 million) till the full award is paid. It translates to more than $336,000 per day.

Antrix Corp. has initiated proceeding in a city court in Bangalore as well, the jurisdiction of which has been opposed by Devas.

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Rajiv Nayyar, counsel representing Devas told justice S. Muralidhar who was hearing the case that it was undisputable that Delhi was the seat of arbitration where the cause of action had arisen- granting it exclusive jurisdiction to hear the matter.

“Parties had agreed that Delhi was the seat of jurisdiction and there is no question of concurrent jurisdiction (by Delhi and Bangalore court) in this case. Further, no orders have been passed by the Bangalore court where the other suit is pending." Nayyar added,

During an earlier hearing before justice J.R. Midha on 9 October, it had been submitted by lawyer Gourab Banerji that the Delhi high court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the petition. It was, however, contended by Antrix that the Delhi high court did not have jurisdiction to hear the plea as the contract was executed between the parties in Bengaluru.

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The 14 September ruling by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris relates to a 28 January 2005 agreement between Devas and Antrix, under which Devas was to lease as much as 70 megahertz of S-band spectrum from two satellites that were to be launched by Isro.

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