Applicability of the Statue of Limitation to Claims under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006

INTRODUCTION
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (“MSMED Act”), alike its predecessor, The Interest on Delayed Payments to Small and Ancillary Industrial Undertakings Act, 1993 (“the 1993 Act”) was formulated with an intent of protecting and promoting the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (“MSME”), by shortening their working capital cycle, fostering availability of credit, and providing an exorbitant interest liability (at three times the bank rate notified by the Reserve Bank of India, compounded till the actual date of payment) to be paid by a buyer, for the period of delay to disincentivize delayed payments and maintain the flow of liquidity for microscale businesses.

The MSMED Act even provides for a speedy dispute resolution mechanism by making a reference to the Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Council (“MSEFC”). It envisages compulsory conciliation, failing which arbitration will be invoked. It is pertinent to note at this juncture that remedies under the Act are available to the micro and small enterprises and not the medium enterprises. These dispute resolution mechanisms have gained considerable popularity owing to its cost and time efficiency.

Despite being a statute favouring and empowering the MSMEs, the MSMED Act is silent on the applicability of the Limitation Act, 1963 (“Limitation Act”). This silence has resultantly paved the way for evergreening of claims. The uncertainty surrounding the applicability of the statute of limitation vis-a-vis arbitrations mandated under the MSMED Act remains unresolved and compels one to delve into the divergent views expressed by various judicial fora over the years.

LEGISLATIVE INTENT
The issue ‘whether the Limitation Act applies to the proceedings before the MSEFC” under Section 18 of the MSMED Act is not based on the Limitation Act alone but rather an interplay of the MSMED Act with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“the Arbitration Act”). There is no express provision in the above-mentioned statutes that would answer the question.

It is a settled position in law that once an arbitration commences under the MSMED Act, the provisions of the Arbitration Act shall be applicable to the arbitration. Having said that, attention must be drawn to the Section 431 of the Arbitration Act which states that the Limitation Act shall be applicable to the arbitration proceedings. Yet, Section 2 (4)2 of the Arbitration Act provided for the inapplicability of the said Section 43 to statutory arbitrations. The term statutory arbitration means those arbitrations which are conducted in accordance with the provisions of certain special legislations which provide for arbitration in respect of disputes arising on matters exclusively covered by those domain specific Acts. In line with the provisions of the Arbitration Act, there seems to be an express bar on the applicability of the Limitation Act to the statutory arbitrations.

Conversely, the distinctiveness of the arbitration under the MSMED Act as opposed to the other acts is prescribed under Section 18 (3)3 of the MSMED Act being a “deeming provision” wherein the disputes to be settled under Section are “deemed” to have an arbitration agreement within the meaning of Section 7 of the Arbitration Act. Hence, despite being a statutory arbitration, it may not be treated as one under the Arbitration Act. This analogy once again gives authority to Section 43 of the Arbitration Act wherein the Limitation Act expressly becomes applicable.

The saving grace to this conundrum is Section 244 of the MSMED Act which clarifies that at every point where the provisions of the MSMED Act coincides with the provisions of the other statute, the provisions of the MSMED Act shall be given preference. Accordingly, a reading of all the provisions referred to above, brings us to the conclusion that the intent of the legislature while drafting the MSMED Act ought to have inherently provided for the applicability of the Limitation Act.

Once more the tables turn when reference is made to the Frequently Asked Questions on the official portal of the MSME SAMADHAAN-Delayed Payment Monitoring System5. The question 386 and 397 therein clarifies that the Limitation Act is not applicable to the Arbitration by the Council, only the concept of ‘delay and latches shall be applicable’.

Therefore, the question ‘whether the concept of limitation is to be made applicable to the proceedings under the MSMED Act’ leaves a lot of room for interpretation and lacks clarity.

PERIOD OF LIMITATION
The applicability of the Limitation Act itself becomes null and void when one goes into the further issue of ‘when does the limitation commence’. Ideally, one would look at the date of ‘acknowledgement of the debt’ as a reference point for the calculation of the limitation period, but what happens when the law mandates to provide such acknowledgement on a yearly basis till the time the debt is actually paid off.
As per Section 228 of the MSMED Act, every buyer is required to disclose the principal amount and the interest due thereon (to be shown separately) remaining unpaid to any supplier as at the end of each accounting year as and when the buyer gets their accounts audited as per the laws of India. Noncompliance of the said disclosure shall attract the penal provisions under Section 27 (2)9 of the MSMED Act which provides for a fine exceeding upto INR. 10,000/-.

The gravity of such disclosure is amplified on 22nd January 2019 with the Notification No. S.O. 368(E)10 issued by the Ministry of Corporate under Section 40511 of the Companies Act 2013. This notification introduces the concept of ‘Specified Companies’ which means all companies, who get supplies of goods or services from micro and small enterprises and whose payments to micro and small enterprise suppliers exceed forty-five days from the date of acceptance or the date of deemed acceptance of the goods or services. These Specified Companies are required to submit a half yearly return to the Registrar of Companies about the amount of payment due and the reasons thereof. As the notification is introduced within the Section 405 of the Companies Act, it attracts the penal provision at sub - clause (4)12 therein which automatically steps up the penalty from a meagre INR. 10,000/- imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which shall not be less than INR. 25,000/- but which may extend to INR. 3,00,000/- or with both.

This fundamentally means that irrespective of the express applicability of the Limitation Act, the ‘Specified Companies’ will conceptually adhere to the mandated ‘acknowledgment of debt’ prescription within the meaning of Section 1813 of the Limitation Act and will keep giving rise to a new cause of action. The view has been held as good law very recently by the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench vide its Order dated 25th January 2019 in the case of TJSB Sahakari Bank Ltd. v. M/s. Unimetal Castings Ltd.14

In conclusion, the Legislature has left very little or no room for barring the claims under the MSMED Act even if the Limitation Act has been made expressly applicable.

JUDICIAL INTERPRETATION

2016

  1. The judgment of the Supreme Court in A.P. Power Coordination Committee v. Lanco Kondapalli Power Limited15 did not expressly deal with the provisions of the MSMED Act, it provided a preliminary view on the interpretation of the applicability of the Limitation Act vis-a-vis disputes pertaining to monetary claims before various statutory authorities. The decision thus also provided ample assistance to various fora, in arriving at a reasoning, whilst dealing with the interplay between the provisions of the MSMED Act and the applicability of limitation to statutory arbitrations.In the said matter, A.P. State Electricity Board and Lanco entered into a Power Purchase Agreement after due approval from the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Disputes arose between the parties and Lanco filed an Arbitration Application under Section 11(4) of the Arbitration Act, seeking appointment of arbitrator. Whilst the matter before the High Court was still pending, a judgment of the Supreme Court in Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. v. Essar Power Ltd16 held that all disputes between the licensee and generating companies require adjudication by the State Commission which is only competent authority to either adjudicate the disputes or refer them for arbitration and to appoint arbitrator.Consequently, Lanco preferred an application before the Commission, which came to be resisted by the appellants, inter alia, on the ground of limitation. To this, Lanco invoked Section 1417 of the Limitation Act and sought exclusion of time when the arbitration proceeding had remained pending with the High Court. The said view was rejected by the Commission and Lanco preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the order of rejection.Despite having concluded in the favour of Lanco in-principle acknowledging that ordinarily exclusion of the stated period ought to be valid, the decision was given against the party based on factual examination of this particular case.
  2. Similarly, a decision of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the matter of Ravindranath GE Medicate Associate Private Limited v. Clean Coats Private Limited18 being an appeal under Section 3719 of the Arbitration Act is noteworthy. GE Medicate sought to set aside the order of the Learned Principal District Judge who rejected an appeal under Section 3420 of the Arbitration Act on the grounds of maintainability.In an ongoing dispute, GE Medicate had failed to deposit 75% of the awarded amount at the time of filing the application as prescribed under Section 34(3) of the Arbitration Act as well as the proviso to Section 1921 of the MSMED Act. The Principal District Judge held that filing such an application without having made the deposit was itself defective and thus limitation would not stop upon filing such an application without having made the deposit. Setting aside the impugned order and clarifying the matter, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court held:37..., Section 19 of the MSMED Act, 2006 does not provide for any period of limitation in filing the application under section 34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996. The said provision does not indicate that if the amount of 75% of the awarded sum is not deposited along with the application under section 34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, the limitation in filing such application under section 34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 would not stop.

    38. In my view, since the arbitral proceedings under the provisions of MSMED Act, 2006 are also governed by the provisions of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, limitation for filing an application under section 34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 would be governed by section 34(3) of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996... the Court has to consider the plea of limitation raised, if any, in filing an application under section 34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 by applying the provisions of section 34(3) of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 which Act is self-contained which is applicable in all respects even to the arbitration proceedings commenced under the provisions of the said MSMED Act, 2006 in view of section 18(3) thereof. There is no separate provision for limitation in filing an application for challenging the award rendered by the Micro & Small Enterprises Facilitation Council under the provisions of the said MSMED Act, 2006. Reliance thus placed by the learned counsel for the respondent under section 23 of the MSMED Act, 2006 is totally misplaced.”

2017

  1. In the year 2017, Bombay High Court passed a landmark decision in the matter of Delton Electricals v. Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited & Ors22 . The Court relied upon the reasoning in A.P. Power Coordination Committee v. Lanco Kondapalli Power Limited23 in deciding an appeal by Delton which sought to challenge an Order, of the Learned Single Judge of the High Court which allowed the Arbitration Petition filed by State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (“MSEDCL”) on various grounds, inter alia, the inapplicability of the Limitation Act to the proceedings.In the said case, dispute arose between Parties regarding unpaid dues and Delton preferred an Application before the MSEFC Mumbai, claiming the relief under the MSMED Act for outstanding payments along with interest, payable till the date of payment.

    The said Application came to be defended by MSEDCL on various grounds, inter alia, urging that the proceedings before the Council would attract the law of limitation and any claim for interest should have been instituted within a period of three years from the date on which the cause of action arose. Basis these contentions, the MSEFC had conducted a preliminary conciliation which had failed and accordingly the Parties had been referred to arbitration under Section 18 (3) of the MSMED Act. The award passed in favor of Delton, subsequently came to be challenged by MSMED before the Hon’ble Single Judge of the High Court, who set aside the award and an appeal was preferred by Delton.

    The Hon’ble High Court rejected the contention that by virtue of Section 4324 read with Section 2(4) of the Arbitration Act that the Limitation Act is not applicable to statutory arbitrations. Taking into consideration that the limitation laws have a beneficial purpose, it held that an interpretation which allows the Council to make an award on time barred claims cannot be taken by the High Court, and held as follows:

    66. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has held in a very wide language that there are good reasons for supporting the existence of defence of limitation. One is that long dormant claims have more of cruelty than justice in them; that a defendant might have lost the evidence to disprove a stale claim and that persons with good causes of action should pursue them with reasonable diligence...

    67. Once we approach this matter from this angle, we cannot place a interpretation which would enable the Council and set up under the Acts of 1993 and 2006 to make an Award of the present nature awarding claims which are barred by limitation.”

    Further, it was held that such awards should be set aside on the ground of violating public policy as under:

    76.... This is nothing but claim for recovery of money. If the amount or money is due even under the statutory instrument as above, if that rules out completely the applicability of law of limitation and enables a Council to award time barred claims, then, such a stipulation must be expressly found in that statute or its provisions read together and harmoniously only ought to lead to this implied conclusion. It is that statute which empowers the Council to enter as arbitrator and which arbitration must proceed in terms of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, by treating the whole arrangement as an agreement for arbitration. That statute, namely, Act 32 of 1993 and the successor law does not enable, to our mind, granting of a time barred claim.

    77. We have, therefore, no hesitation in agreeing with the learned single Judge that the claims which were hopelessly time barred have been awarded and such an Award cannot stand the scrutiny on the touchstone of public policy. It could have been, therefore, set aside by taking recourse to an application under section 34 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996.”

2018

  1. Despite the Bombay High Court’s clear stance in the Delton case, a similar issue was once again placed before another Division Bench of the Bombay High Court in the case of Sonali Power Equipment v. Maharashtra State Electricity Board25. The said judgement was passed after clubbing several cases wherein it was claimed that the judgement passed in the case of Delton had not appreciated the discussions and the law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in case of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation v. PPN Power Generation Company Pvt. Ltd.26. The Appellants state that judgment in case of T.N. Generation (supra), specifically observes that the provisions of Limitation Act are not applicable to Statutory Arbitrations. After thorough discussion, the Division Bench disagreed with the Delton case in the following words at paragraph 53:“53... We need not observe more on this aspect here but, we, with respect, feel that exposition of “amount due” in Delton's case by the Division Bench may not be correct. Impact of this view on limitation facet or time-barring concept for invoking Section 18 of MSMED Act, also in that even needs closer scrutiny. We also find that MSMED Act 2006 alters and widens the legal field till then covered by the Interest on Delayed Payments to Small-Scale and Ancillary Industrial Undertakings Act, 1993 i.e., Act No. 32 of 1993 substantially. The natural sweep of Sections 18, 22, 27 and 28 of the MSMED Act may not sustain a civil suit and a re-look on correctness of the view of Division Bench in Delton's case on applicability of the Limitation Act, 1963 also becomes necessary.”Accordingly, the matter was placed for consideration before a larger Bench. Even though the judgement did not answer the contentious issues, it did critique the Delton case.

2019

  1. On 23rd January 2019, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Shanti Conductors Private Limited and Anr. v. Assam State Electricity Board and Ors.27 dealt with the issue of Limitation vis-a-vis the 1993 Act. The judgement dealt with a group of related matters, wherein different entities provided goods / services to the Assam State Electricity Board in the year of 1992. The Appellant in the said cases is the goods / service provider who claimed interest towards the delay in payments received by them under the 1993 Act. A major portion of the judgement deals with the issue of retrospective application of the 1993 Act as the contracts / agreements entered in dispute were executed even prior to the 1993 Act. The Trial Court held that the Section 1028 of the 1993 Act has an overriding effect over the other statutes and therefore the Limitation Act would not be applicable to the facts of the case. However, the Supreme Court clarified this position in paragraph 80 stating as follows:“80... There is no provision in 1993 Act pertaining to limitation, the provision of Limitation Act pertaining to filing suit shall continue to operate there being nothing contrary or overriding under 1993 Act. Section 10 will operate only with regard to expressed provisions contained in 1993 Act which shall be given overriding effect but reading Section 10 to the effect that it shall override Limitation Act is not correct interpretation of Section 10 and Trial Court fell in error in relying on Section 10 in holding that Limitation Act will not apply.”

    Accordingly, the Supreme Court held that the Limitation Act shall be fully applicable. Consequently, Section 2429 of the MSMED Act can be interpreted so as to mean that unless there is something which is inconsistent with the MSMED Act, the provisions of the Limitation Act shall be applicable.

  2. Out of all the judgments discussed above, the latest and most comprehensible is the one passed by the Single Judge Bench of the Bombay High Court on 25th February 2019 in the matter of M/s. Shah & Parikh, Engineers & Contractors v. M/s. Urmi Trenchless Technology Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.30. It expressly dealt with the issue of applicability of the Limitation Act to the proceedings under the MSMED Act. The Plaintiff herein gave a work order to Defendant No. 1. The work was not completed, and it is the Plaintiff’s case that the machine was defective, and they had to finish the work at their cost and expense. The Defendant No. 1 thereafter sent a notice under Section 1831 of the MSMED Act for unpaid invoices as well as damages through the respective Council under the MSMED Act. Amongst several issues dealt with, one of the issues pertained to the applicability of the Limitation Act at the stage of conciliation and that who shall have the power to adjudicate the question regarding the claim being time barred or not. One of the arguments raised by the Plaintiff was that only if conciliation fails, will Section 18(3)32 come into effect, i.e., arbitration and till the conciliation is not over, Section 8 of the Arbitration Act 1996 shall not to be triggered. Hence, the contention was raised that the Limitation Act shall not apply at the stage of Conciliation under Section 18(2)33 of the MSMED Act. But the judgement held such contention as “unsustainable”. The Bombay High Court at paragraph 13 and 14 (iii) stated that:“13... This is because Section 8 does not distinguish between conciliation and arbitration. Section 8 only states that the judicial authority shall, once it is satisfied that there is an arbitration agreement, refer the disputes to arbitration. By the deeming fiction as held in Secur Industries (Supra), M/s. Steel Authority of India Ltd. (Supra) and Paper and Board Convertors (Supra), once MSME Act is applicable, the provisions of Arbitration Act, 1996 get activated. Under subsection (4) of Section 18, this position is made abundantly clear because it stipulates that notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Facilitation Council or the centre providing alternate dispute resolution services shall have jurisdiction to act as an Arbitrator or Conciliator under this Section in a dispute between the supplier located within its jurisdiction and a buyer located anywhere in India.”

    14. (iii) Further, it is trite that very often an arbitration clause will contemplate a pre reference conciliation process. This pre reference conciliation process does not in any manner dilute the arbitration agreement or imply that a Court entertaining a suit will continue with the suit and not refer the parties to Arbitration under Section 8 of the Arbitration Act, merely because parties are still at the stage of conciliation.”

    Therefore, it has been expressly stated that the Limitation Act shall be applicable not only at the stage of arbitration, but even at the time of commencing conciliation under the MSMED Act. The judgement despite having concluded the applicability of Limitation Act, left the question regarding the claim being time barred to the wisdom and jurisdiction of the arbitrator / conciliator.

CONCLUSION
Bearing in mind the views expressed in the catena of judgments, whilst no express provision affirming the applicability of Limitation Act vis-a-vis the claims brought under the MSMED Act, is said to be present, any interpretation to the contrary would render the intention of the legislature infructuous. Even though the above discussed judgements draw us to the conclusion that the Limitation Act ought to be applicable to the proceedings under the MSMED Act, there is always a scope of distinguishing every matter from the judgements based on unique factual position.

Inapplicability of the Limitation Act would not only render a debtor/buyer defenceless, but also provide a supplier to raise claims that are otherwise time-barred and incentivize the same vide the extant provision envisaging an exorbitant interest component. In addition, a far greater anomaly would occur when proceedings for recovery before various judicial fora would entail a divergent application of the Limitation Act and debts under the MSMED Act will as a result survive perennially as opposed to the legislative intent of timely resolution. Moreover, with the ‘acknowledgment of debt’ being renewed every year, one needs to consider whether the application of the Limitation Act would be helpful in any manner to the buyers in cases of stale claims. This Judiciary is yet to go into this discourse and provide a harmonious view of all the provisions of law inclusive of the Notifications and Circulars updated from time to time.

A clarification / amendment in this regard will be instrumental in uniformly guiding ongoing litigation and helping the cause of affected stakeholders. MSMEs being financial crippled owing to the ongoing unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes imperative to exigently abet the cause of swifter dispute resolution both legislatively and judicially for such distressed businesses.

  1. Section 43. Limitations. (1) The Limitation Act, 1963 (36 of 1963), shall apply to arbitrations as it applies to proceedings in court.
    (2) For the purposes of this section and the Limitation Act, 1963 (36 of 1963), an arbitration shall be deemed to have commenced on the date referred to in section 21.
  2. Section 2 (4) This Part except sub-section (1) of section 40, sections 41 and 43 shall apply to every arbitration under any other enactment for the time being in force, as if the arbitration were pursuant to an arbitration agreement and as if that other enactment were an arbitration agreement, except in so far as the provisions of this Part are inconsistent with that other enactment or with any rules made thereunder.
  3. Section 18 (3) Where the conciliation initiated under sub-section (2) is not successful and stands terminated without any settlement between the parties, the Council shall either itself take up the dispute for arbitration or refer it to any institution or centre providing alternate dispute resolution services for such arbitration and the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (26 of 1996) shall then apply to the dispute as if the arbitration was in pursuance of an arbitration agreement referred to in sub-section(1) of section 7 of that Act.
  4. Section 24. Overriding effect. The provisions of sections 15 to 23 shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force.
  5. https://samadhaan.msme.gov.in/MyMsme/MSEFC/FAQ.aspx
  6. Q.38 Whether a time barred receivable from a buyer can be decided by Council?
    Ans: Yes. No limitation is applicable in Arbitration by Council. But delay and latches principle is applicable. Supplier sleeping over his legal rights cannot get assistance of Council.
  7. Q.39 What are the exemptions available under the law of Limitation in treating a receivable from limitation of time barring?
    Ans: Law of limitation is not applicable. However, there should not be delay and latches on the part of the supplier.
  8. Section 22. Where any buyer is required to get his annual accounts audited under any law for the time being in force, such buyer shall furnish the following additional information in his annual statement of accounts, namely: (i) the principal amount and the interest due thereon (to be shown separately) remaining unpaid to any supplier as at the end of each accounting year []”;27
  9. Section 27 (2) Where a buyer contravenes the provisions of section 22, he shall be punishable with fine which shall not be less than rupees ten thousand.
  10. https://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/pdf/MSMESpecifiedCompanies_22012019.pdf
  11. Section 405. Power of Central Government to direct companies to furnish information or statistics - (1) The Central Government may, by order, require companies generally, or any class of companies, or any company, to furnish such information or statistics with regard to their or its constitution or working, and within such time, as may be specified in the order
  12. Section 405 (4), or knowingly furnishes any information or statistics which is incorrect or incomplete in any material respect, the company shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees and every officer of the company who is in default, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees but which may extend to three lakh rupees, or with both.
  13. Section 18. Effect of acknowledgment in writing. (1) Where, before the expiration of the prescribed period for a suit or application in respect of any property or right, an acknowledgment of liability in respect of such property or right has been made in writing signed by the party against whom such property or right is claimed, or by any person through whom he derives his title or liability, a fresh period of limitation shall be computed from the time when the acknowledgment was so signed.
  14. CP (IB) -3622/I&BP/MB/2018 before the National Company Law Tribunal, Mumbai Bench.
  15. AIR 2016 SC 1925.
  16. (2008) 4 SCC 755
  17. Section 14. Exclusion of time of proceeding bona fide in court without jurisdiction.(1) In computing the period of limitation for any suit the time during which the plaintiff has been prosecuting with due diligence nother civil proceeding, whether in a court of first instance or of appeal or revision, against the defendant shall be excluded, where the proceeding relates to the same matter in issue and is prosecuted in good faith in a court which, from defect of jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature, is unable to entertain it.
  18. (2016) 6 Mh. L.J.
  19. Section 37 (1). Appealable orders. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, an appeal] shall lie from the following orders (and from no others) to the Court authorised by law to hear appeals from original decrees of the Court passing the order, namely:
    (a) refusing to refer the parties to arbitration under section 8;
    (b) granting or refusing to grant any measure under section 9;
    (c) setting aside or refusing to set aside an arbitral award under section 34.
  20. Section 34. Application for setting aside arbitral award. (1) Recourse to a Court against an arbitral award may be made only by an application for setting aside such award in accordance with sub-section (2) and sub-section (3).
  21. Section 19. Application for setting aside decree, award or order.No application for setting aside any decree, award or other order made either by the Council itself or by any institution or centre providing alternate dispute resolution services to which a reference is made by the Council, shall be entertained by any court unless the appellant (not being a supplier) has deposited with it seventy-five per cent. of the amount in terms of the decree, award or, as the case may be, the other order in the manner directed by such court:
    Provided that pending disposal of the application to set aside the decree, award or order, the court shall order that such percentage of the amount deposited shall be paid to the supplier, as it considers reasonable under the circumstances of the case, subject to such conditions as it deems necessary to impose.
  22. (2017) 6 AIR Bom R 487: AIR 2018 (NOC 2017) 71
  23. Supra 10
  24. Supra 1
  25. 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 2253
  26. (Civil Appeal No. 4126/2013), delivered on 04.04.2014
  27. (2019) 19 SCC 529
  28. Section 10 of the 1993 Act The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force.
  29. Supra 4
  30. Commercial Notice of Motion (L) No.2266 Of 2018 In Commercial Suit (L) No.875 Of 2018
  31. Supra 9
  32. Supra 3
  33. Section 18 (2) On receipt of a reference under sub-section (1), the Council shall either itself conduct conciliation in the matter or seek the assistance of any institution or centre providing alternate dispute resolution services by making a reference to such an institution or centre, for conducting conciliation and the provisions of sections 65 to 81 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (26 of 1996) shall apply to such a dispute as if the conciliation was initiated under Part III of that Act.
Dated: June 1, 2021
Author: Kanan Chawda, Senior Associate and Abha Patel, Associate

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