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National Highways Authority of India Vs. D S Toll Roads Pvt. Ltd. - (High Court of Delhi) (19 Sep 2023)

No interference with the arbitral award would be warranted unless the Court finds that the view is patently illegal or perverse



By way of present petition filed under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 ('the A&C Act'), the Petitioner-National Highways Authority of India ('NHAI') has laid challenge to the award ('the Arbitral Award') passed by the Arbitral Tribunal.

The liability of NHAI to compensate the Contractor for damages on account of delay in handing over the site, is not disputed. The only question that arises for consideration is whether sub-clauses 13.5.1 and 13.5.2 would apply or whether sub-clause 31.2 read with Section 55 and 73 of the Contract Act would apply.

A reading of sub-clause 13.5.2 would show that the sums to be awarded as damages against the failure of NHAI to make available the Additional Right of Way would fall within the domain of the said clause only if the provisional completion certificate was not delayed or affected as a consequence of delay/non-fulfilment of reciprocal promise by the NHAI. In the considered opinion of this court, the damages awarded by the AT are in conformity of the sub-clauses. It is the second proviso to sub-clause 13.5.2 which would need to be considered and thus, the computation of damages would be in accordance with sub-clause 31.2.

The scope of interference under section 34 of the Act is limited. The arbitral tribunal is the final adjudicating authority in respect of the disputes between the parties, as well as the interpretation of the agreement between them. No interference with the arbitral award would be warranted unless the Court finds that the view is patently illegal or perverse. The Court is not meant to act as court of first appeal, and cannot supplant its view over that of the arbitral tribunal. In the present case, the view taken by the AT is clearly a plausible one and needs no interference by this court. Present Court finds no merit in the objection. Petition dismissed.


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