Execution petition for arbitral award against Air India pending since 2016: Supreme Court asks Delhi HC Chief Justice to assign case expeditiously

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In the instant case, an arbitral award was passed against Air India to pay INR 50 crores worth of dues within three months along with simple interest at 12 per cent per annum.

The Supreme Court today directed the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to assign an execution petition pending before it since 2016 to a Bench for disposal as expeditiously as possible.

Said execution petition relates to an arbitral award whereby Air India was directed to pay erstwhile employees of the Engineering Department of Indian Airlines over 50 crores over issues of service conditions after Indian Airlines merged with Air India.

The Arbitral award was made on 25 May, 2016. A vacation bench of Justices PS Narasimha and Pankaj Mithal was told that the Execution Petition had been filed and at the same time objections under Section 34 have also been filed.

Sub Section (2) of Section 36 provides that where an application to set aside an Arbitral award has been filed in the Court under Section 34, the filing of such application shall not by itself render that award un-enforceable and as of today there is no interim order staying the execution of the award, the Supreme Court noted.

"It is unfortunate that the Execution Petition as well as the petition under Section 34 have been adjourned from 2016 till date. In view of the above, we request the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the High Court to assign this case to a Bench for disposal as expeditiously as possible", the division bench has said.

This order came to be passed in an SLP filed by the All India Aircraft Engineers Association challenging a High Court order that had adjourned the matter to July this year.