New Delhi : The Supreme Court (SC) is likely to hear, on Thursday, a plea of the Centre challenging the Delhi High Court (HC) order asking it and the Vodafone Group to participate in dual arbitration proceedings initiated in connection with a tax demand of Rs 11,000 crore through a retrospective law.
The high court had asked Vodafone representatives to participate in the process of appointing a presiding arbitrator in its international arbitration process against India. A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan posted the matter for Thursday after the counsel for the telecom company said the matter was earlier listed for hearing on December 15.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said he had no objection if the matter is listed for hearing on Thursday. Justice R F Nariman had recused from hearing the matter on December 8. On October 26, the high court had allowed the telecom company to participate in the second arbitration against India on the same issue of tax demand. The high court had on August 22 restrained Vodafone from participating in the arbitration initiated under the India- United Kingdom Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) in connection with the tax demand raised against the company in relation to its USD 11 billion deal acquiring the stake of Hutchinson Telecom. Earlier, the company had initiated a similar arbitration process under the India-Netherlands BIPA on the same issue and the proceeding on it is going on. The high court on October 26 had given the Centre time till November 17 to indicate whether it was amenable to a re- scheduling of these proceedings after a final decision is given in the first arbitration. The court had said it was not in favour of stalling the process as both sides had already appointed an arbitrator each in the second arbitration.
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