New Delhi: The Supreme Court has expressed concern over delay in execution of arbitral awards, calling it "a very sorry state of affairs".
A bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna made the observation while hearing a case in which the arbitral award passed in 1992 remained pending for execution despite passage of more than 30 years.
The apex court said this case is a glaring example of frustrating the arbitration proceedings under the Arbitration Act.
It noted that the award has been passed in the year 1992 and the execution petition is of the year 2003, which is still reported to be pending.
"It is very unfortunate that even after a period of 30 years, the party in whose favour the award is passed is not in a position to enjoy the fruit of the litigation/award. Even the execution petition is also pending for more than 19 years.
"This is a very sorry state of affairs that even the execution proceedings to execute the award passed under the Arbitration Act are pending for more than 20 years," the bench said.
If the award, under the Arbitration Act, is not executed at the earliest, it will frustrate the purpose and object of the Arbitration Act as well as the Commercial Courts Act, it noted.
"Even according to the new Commercial Courts Act, 2015, the commercial dispute is required to be decided and disposed of at the earliest and within the stipulated time provided under the Act, namely, one year.
"There must be number of such proceedings pending in the courts under the jurisdiction of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad," the bench said.
The top court directed the Registrar General of the Allahabad High Court to place on record execution petitions pending in the subordinate courts/executing courts in the entire state.
"The aforesaid information in the form of a detailed report shall be placed before this court on or before the next date of hearing," it said.
With regard to the case in question, the apex court directed the executing court to finally decide and dispose of the execution petition within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of the present order.