DELHI AIRPORT METRO EXPRESS PRIVATE LIMITED VS DELHI METRO RAIL CORPORATION CASE

DELHI AIRPORT METRO EXPRESS PRIVATE LIMITED VS DELHI METRO RAIL CORPORATION CASE

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION 
CIVIL APPEAL NO .3657  OF 2022
[Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.4901 of
2022]
DELHI AIRPORT METRO EXPRESS
PRIVATE LIMITED     ...APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
DELHI METRO RAIL CORPORATION         ...RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T 
B.R. GAVAI, J.
1. Leave granted.
2. The short question involved in the present appeal is, as to
whether the “sum” awarded under clause (a) of sub­section (7)
of Section  31  of the  Arbitration  and  Conciliation Act,  1996
1
(hereinafter referred to as the “1996 Act”) would include the
interest pendente lite or not?
3. The undisputed facts in the present case are as under:
4. On being declared as the successful bidder, a Concession
Agreement dated 25th August, 2008 (hereinafter referred to as
“the   Concession   Agreement”),   was   entered   into   between   the
appellant–Delhi   Airport   Metro   Express   Private   Limited
(hereinafter referred to as “DAMEPL”) and the respondent­Delhi
Metro Rail Corporation (hereinafter referred to as “DMRC”).  As
per the Concession Agreement, the respondent­DMRC was to
carry   out   the   civil   works   (excluding   at   the   Depot)   and   the
balance works (including the Depot civil works and the Project
systems works) were to be executed by the appellant­DAMEPL.
As per Article 29 of the Concession Agreement, in the event of
termination, it was the respondent­DMRC, which was liable to
make   Termination   Payment   (as   defined   in   the   Concession
Agreement).
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5. During the course of operations of the project, a dispute
arose   between   the   appellant­DAMEPL   and   the   respondentDMRC.     The   appellant­DAMEPL   terminated   the   Concession
Agreement by Termination Notice dated 8th October, 2012.  The
respondent­DMRC   referred   the   dispute   to   Arbitration   under
Article   36.2   of   the   Concession   Agreement   on   23rd  October,
2012.  An Arbitral Award came to be passed on 11th May, 2017.
On 12th May, 2017, the appellant­DAMEPL paid a stamp duty of
Rs.4,72,20,000/­ on the Award. Certain interim orders were
also passed in the interlocutory proceedings by the Delhi High
Court.     Since   the   respondent­DMRC   was   aggrieved   by   the
Award, it filed a Petition under Section 34 of the 1996 Act in
Delhi   High   Court,   being   OMP   (COMM)   No.307   of   2017,
challenging the Arbitral Award dated 11th May, 2017.  Vide the
judgment and order dated 6th March, 2018, the learned Single
Judge of the Delhi High Court upheld the Arbitral Award and
rejected the respondent­DMRC’s petition under Section 34 of
the 1996 Act. The said judgment and order dated 6th  March,
3
2018 came to be challenged by the respondent­DMRC before
the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court by way of appeal
being FAO(OS)(COMM) No. 58 of 2018.   The said appeal was
partly allowed by the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court
vide the judgment and order dated 15th January, 2019.  Being
aggrieved thereby, the appellant­DAMEPL preferred Civil Appeal
No.5627 of 2021 [arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil)
No.4115 of 2019] before this Court.  The said appeal came to be
allowed   by   this   Court   by   judgment   and   order   dated   9th
September, 2021, vide which the judgment and order dated 15th
January, 2019, passed by the Division Bench of the Delhi High
Court was set aside.  
6. The   appellant­DAMEPL   thereafter   immediately   filed   an
Execution Petition being OMP (ENF.) (COMM) No. 145 of 2021
on   12th  September,   2021,   before   the   Delhi   High   Court   for
enforcement of the Arbitral Award dated 11th May, 2017 passed
by the Arbitral Tribunal.  Various orders came to be passed by
the learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court in the said
4
proceedings from time to time. Vide the impugned judgment
and order dated 10th March, 2022, the learned Single Judge of
the Delhi High Court issued certain directions with regard to
the payment to be made by the respondent­DMRC towards the
satisfaction of the Award.   Vide the impugned judgment and
order, the application(s) for impleadment filed by the Canara
Bank and the Union Bank of India came to be rejected.  In the
said   proceedings,   a   contention   was   raised   on   behalf   of   the
appellant­DAMEPL that the sum, as specified under clause (a)
of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act, would include
interest for a period from the date on which the cause of action
arose to the date on which the award was made.   The said
contention  was rejected by the learned Single Judge of the
Delhi High Court by the impugned judgment and order.  Being
aggrieved thereby, the present appeal by way of special leave.   
7. We   have   heard   Shri   Harish   N.   Salve,   learned   Senior
Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant­DAMEPL and Shri
5
Parag P. Tripathi, learned Senior Counsel appearing on behalf
of the respondent­DMRC.
8. Shri Harish N. Salve, learned Senior Counsel, submits
that the issue is no more res integra. The majority judgment of
this court in the case of  Hyder  Consulting  (UK) Limited vs.
Governor,   State   of   Orissa   through   Chief   Engineer1
  has
clearly held that, upon a plain reading of clauses (a) and (b) of
sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act, it is clear that in
the sum for which an Award is made, interest may be included
for the pre­award period, and that for the post­award period,
interest up to the rate of 18% per annum may be awarded on
such sum directed to be paid by the Arbitral Tribunal.  Learned
Senior   Counsel,   therefore,   submits   that   the   amount   under
clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act would
include the Termination Payment of Rs.2782.33 crores plus the
amount of interest granted by the Arbitral Tribunal from the
date of cause of action till the date of the award.  As such, it is
1 (2015) 2 SCC 189
6
the   contention   of   the   appellant­DAMEPL   that   the   sum,   as
specified in clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the
1996 Act, would be an amount of Rs.4662.59 crores.   It is
further submitted that the sum, which is arrived at Rs.4662.59
on the correct construction of clause (a) of sub­section (7) of
Section 31 of the 1996 Act, would therefore carry the interest
as awarded by the Arbitral Tribunal from the date of the award
till the date of payment.   The learned Senior Counsel would
submit   that   the   aforesaid   interpretation   is   the   only   logical
interpretation.  He submits that the High Court has, therefore,
erred   in   rejecting   the   claim   of   the   appellant­DAMEPL   with
regard to addition of the interest pendente lite in the sum to be
arrived at under clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of
the 1996 Act. 
9. Shri Parag P. Tripathi, learned Senior Counsel, on the
contrary,   would   submit   that   the   High   Court   has   correctly
rejected the claim of the appellant­DAMEPL.  He submits that
clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act itself
7
begins with the phrase “unless otherwise agreed by the parties”.
He   submits   that   there   is   a   specific   agreement   between   the
parties under Article 29.8 of the Concession Agreement, with
regard to payment of interest.  Learned Senior Counsel submits
that since there is an agreement between the parties as to how
the interest would be awarded and that since the same has
been awarded by the Arbitral Tribunal in accordance with the
agreement, the majority judgment of this Court in the case of
Hyder  Consulting  (UK)  Limited  (supra) would not be of any
assistance to the case of the appellant­DAMEPL.  He therefore
submits that the present appeal deserves to be dismissed. 
10. As already stated hereinabove, the present appeal needs to
be decided in the narrow compass of interpretation of clause (a)
of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act.  
11. Shri Harish N. Salve, learned Senior Counsel is justified in
relying on the majority judgment of this Court in the case of
Hyder Consulting (UK) Limited (supra).  S.A. Bobde, J. in his
judgment in the said case observed thus:
8
“2. It   is   not   possible   to   agree   with   the
conclusion   in S.L.   Arora   case [State   of
Haryana v. S.L.   Arora   and   Co.,   (2010)   3
SCC 690 : (2010) 1 SCC (Civ) 823] that
Section 31(7) of the Act does not require
that interest which accrues till the date of
the award be included in the “sum” from
the date of award for calculating the postaward interest. In my humble view, this
conclusion   does   not   seem   to   be   in
consonance   with   the   clear   language   of
Section 31(7) of the Act.
3. Sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the Act,
which deals with the power of the Arbitral
Tribunal   to   award   interest,   reads   as
follows:
“31.(7)(a)   Unless   otherwise
agreed by the parties, where and
insofar as an arbitral award is for
the   payment   of money,   the
Arbitral Tribunal may include in
the sum for which the award is
made interest, at such rate as it
deems reasonable, on the whole
or any part of the money, for the
whole or any part of the period
between   the   date  on  which   the
cause   of   action   arose   and   the
date on which the award is made.
9
(b) A sum directed to be paid by
an   arbitral   award   shall,   unless
the   award   otherwise   directs,
carry   interest   at   the   rate   of
eighteen per centum per annum
from the date of the award to the
date of payment.”
(emphasis supplied)
4. Clause   (a)   of   sub­section   (7)   provides
that   where   an   award   is   made   for   the
payment of money, the Arbitral Tribunal
may include interest in the sum for which
the award is made. In plain terms, this
provision   confers   a   power   upon   the
Arbitral Tribunal while making an award
for payment of money, to include interest
in the sum for which the award is made on
either the whole or any part of the money
and for the whole or any part of the period
for   the   entire   pre­award   period   between
the   date   on   which   the   cause   of   action
arose and the date on which the award is
made. To put it differently, sub­section (7)
(a) contemplates that an award, inclusive
of interest for the pre­award period on the
entire amount directed to be paid or part
thereof,   may   be   passed.   The   “sum”
awarded may be the principal amount and
such   interest   as   the   Arbitral   Tribunal
deems fit. If no interest is awarded, the
“sum”   comprises   only   the   principal.   The
significant words occurring in clause (a) of
10
sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the Act are
“the sum for which the award is made”. On
a plain reading, this expression refers to
the total   amount or sum for   the   payment
for which the award is made. Parliament
has   not   added   a   qualification   like
“principal”   to   the   word   “sum”,   and
therefore,   the   word   “sum”   here   simply
means “a particular amount of money”. In
Section   31(7),   this   particular   amount   of
money may include interest from the date
of cause of action to the date of the award.
5. The Oxford Dictionary gives the following
meaning to the word “sum”:
Sum, ‘if noun’.—A particular amount
of money.
Sum,   ‘if   verb’.—The   total   amount
resulting   from   the   addition   of   two   or
more numbers, amounts, or items.
6. In Black's   Law   Dictionary,   the   word
“sum” is given the following meaning:
“Sum.—In   English   law—A   summary
or abstract; a compendium; a collection.
Several   of   the   old   law   treatises   are
called ‘sum’. Lord Hale applies the term
to   summaries   of   statute   law.   Burrill.
The sense in which the term is most
commonly used is ‘money’; a quantity of
money   or   currency;   any   amount
indefinitely, a sum of money, a small
sum,   or   a   large   sum. United
11
States v. Van Auken [24 L Ed 852 : 96
US   366   (1878)]
and Donovan v. Jenkins [52 Mont 124 :
155 P 972 at p. 973] .”
7. Thus, when used as a noun, as it seems
to have been used in this provision, the
word “sum” simply means “an amount of
money”;   whatever   it   may   include   —
“principal” and “interest” or one of the two.
Once the meaning of the word “sum” is
clear, the same meaning must be ascribed
to the word in clause (b) of sub­section (7)
of Section 31 of the Act, where it provides
that   a sum directed   to   be   paid   by   an
arbitral award “shall … carry interest …”
from the date of the award to the date of
the   payment   i.e.   post­award.   In   other
words, what clause (b) of sub­section (7) of
Section 31 of the Act directs is that the
“sum”, which is directed to be paid by the
award,   whether   inclusive   or   exclusive   of
interest, shall carry interest at the rate of
eighteen per cent per annum for the postaward period, unless otherwise ordered.
8. Thus, sub­section (7) of Section 31 of
the   Act   provides,   firstly,   vide   clause   (a)
that   the   Arbitral   Tribunal   may   include
interest   while   making   an   award   for
payment of money in the sum for which
the award is made and further, vide clause
(b) that the sum so directed to be made by
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the award shall carry interest at a certain
rate for the post­award period.
9. The purpose of enacting this provision
is   clear,   namely,   to   encourage   early
payment   of   the   awarded   sum   and   to
discourage   the   usual   delay,   which
accompanies the execution of the award in
the same manner as if it were a decree of
the court vide Section 36 of the Act.
10. In this view of the matter, it is clear
that the interest, the sum directed to be
paid by the arbitral award under clause (b)
of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the Act
is inclusive of interest pendente lite.
11. At this juncture, it may be useful to
refer to Section 34 CPC, also enacted by
Parliament and conferring the same power
upon   a   court   to   award   interest   on   an
award   i.e.   post­award   interest.   While
enacting   Section   34   CPC   Parliament
conferred   power   on   a   court   to   order
interest   “on   the   principal   sum   adjudged”
and not on merely the “sum” as provided
in the Arbitration Act. The departure from
the language of Section 34 CPC in Section
31(7) of the  1996 Act is significant  and
shows the intention of Parliament.
12. It is settled law that where different
language   is   used   by   Parliament,   it   is
13
intended to have a different effect. In the
Arbitration   Act,   the   word   “sum”   has
deliberately not been qualified by using the
word “principal” before it. If it had been so
used, there would have been no scope for
the contention that the word “sum” may
include “interest.” In Section 31(7) of the
Act, Parliament has deliberately used the
word “sum” to refer to the aggregate of the
amounts that may be directed to be paid
by the Arbitral Tribunal and not merely the
“principal” sum without interest.
13. Thus, it is apparent that vide clause
(a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the
Act, Parliament intended that an award for
payment   of   money   may   be   inclusive   of
interest,   and   the   “sum”   of   the   principal
amount plus interest may be directed to be
paid by the Arbitral Tribunal for the preaward   period.   Thereupon,   the   Arbitral
Tribunal may direct interest to be paid on
such “sum” for the post­award period vide
clause (b) of sub­section (7) of Section 31
of   the   Act,   at   which   stage   the   amount
would   be   the   sum   arrived   at   after   the
merging of interest with the principal; the
two components having lost their separate
identities.
14. In   fact   this   is   a   case   where   the
language of sub­section (7) clauses (a) and
(b) is so plain and unambiguous that no
question   of   construction   of   a   statutory
14
provision   arises.   The   language   itself
provides   that   in   the   sum   for   which   an
award is made, interest may be included
for the pre­award period and that for the
post­award period interest up to the rate of
eighteen   per   cent   per   annum   may   be
awarded on such sum directed to be paid
by the arbitral award.”
12. Abhay Manohar Sapre, J. in his concurring judgment in
the case of  Hyder  Consulting  (UK)  Limited  (supra) has also
agreed with the view of S.A. Bobde, J.  
13. It could thus be seen that the majority view of this Court
in the case of Hyder Consulting (UK) Limited (supra) is that
the sum awarded may include the principal amount and such
interest as the Arbitral Tribunal deems fit.   It is further held
that, if no interest is awarded, the “sum” comprises only the
principal amount.  The majority judgment held that clause (a)
of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act refers to the
total amount or sum for the payment for which the award is
made.  As such, the amount awarded under clause (a) of subsection (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act would include the
15
principal amount plus the interest amount pendente lite.  It was
held that the interest to be calculated as per clause (b) of subsection (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act would be on the total
sum arrived as aforesaid under clause (a) of sub­section (7) of
Section 31 of the 1996 Act.  S.A. Bobde, J. in his judgment, has
referred to various authorities of this Court as well as Maxwell
on the Interpretation of Statutes.  He emphasized that the Court
must give effect to the plain, clear and unambiguous words of
the legislature and it is not for the Courts to add or subtract
the words, even though the construction may lead to strange or
surprising, unreasonable or unjust or oppressive results.  
14. Sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act is already
reproduced in the judgment of S.A. Bobde, J. in the case of
Hyder   Consulting   (UK)   Limited  (supra).     Applying   the
principle of plain interpretation of the language employed by
the legislature, the position that would emerge, on an analysis
of clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act, is
as under:
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(i) It begins with the words “Unless otherwise agreed by
the parties”;
(ii) where   and   insofar   as   an   arbitral   award   is   for   the
payment of money, the Arbitral Tribunal may include
interest component in the sum for which the award is
made;
(iii) the   interest   may   be   at   such   rate   as   the   Arbitral
Tribunal deems reasonable; 
(iv) the interest may be on the whole or any part of the
money;
(v) the interest may be for the whole or any part of the
period between the date on which the cause of action
arose and the date on which the award is made.
15. It could thus be seen that the part which deals with the
power of the Arbitral Tribunal to award interest, would operate
if it is not otherwise agreed by the parties.   If there is an
agreement  between  the parties to  the  contrary,  the Arbitral
17
Tribunal would lose its discretion to award interest and will
have to be guided by the agreement between the parties. The
provision is clear that the Arbitral Tribunal is not bound to
award interest.  It has a discretion to award the interest or not
to award.  It further has a discretion to award interest at such
rate as it deems reasonable. It further has a discretion to award
interest on the whole or any part of the money. It is also not
necessary for the Arbitral Tribunal to award interest for the
entire period between the date on which the cause of action
arose and the date on which the award is made.  It can grant
interest for the entire period or any part thereof or no interest
at all.   
16. We   find   that   in   the   present   case,   the   words   “unless
otherwise agreed by the parties” would assume significance.
The said words fell for consideration before this Court in the
case of N.S. Nayak & Sons vs. State of Goa2
.  This Court in
the said case had an occasion to consider the scope of the
2 (2003) 6 SCC 56
18
phrase   “unless   otherwise   agreed   by   the   parties”   in   various
provisions of the 1996 Act.  This Court observed thus:
“14.   …   The   phrase   ‘unless   otherwise
agreed   by   the   parties’   used   in   various
Sections, namely, 17, 21, 23(3), 24(1), 25,
26, 29, 31, 85(2)(a), etc. indicates that it is
open   to   the   parties   to   agree   otherwise.
During   the   arbitral   proceedings,   right   is
given to  the parties to  decide their own
procedure.   So   if   there   is   an   agreement
between   the   parties   with   regard   to   the
procedure to be followed by the arbitrator,
the arbitrator is required to follow the said
procedure. Reason being, the arbitrator is
appointed   on   the   basis   of   the   contract
between the parties and is required to act
as per the contract. However, this would
not   mean   that   in   appeal   parties   can
contend   that   the   appellate   procedure
should be as per their agreement.”
17. This   Court   in   the   case   of  Sree   Kamatchi   Amman
Constructions   vs.   Divisional   Railway   Manager   (Works),
Palghat and others3
 had an occasion to directly consider the
aforesaid phrase as employed by the legislature in sub­section
(7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act.  R.V. Raveendran, J. in the
said case observed thus:
3 (2010) 8 SCC 767
19
“19.   Section   31(7)   of   the   new   Act   by
using the words ‘unless otherwise agreed
by the parties’ categorically clarifies that
the arbitrator is bound by the terms of
the   contract   insofar   as   the   award   of
interest from the date of cause of action
to the date of award. Therefore, where
the parties had agreed that no interest
shall  be payable, the  Arbitral Tribunal
cannot award interest between the date
when the cause of action arose to the
date of award.”
18. If clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996
Act is given a plain and literal meaning, the legislative intent
would   be   clear   that   the   discretion   with   regard   to   grant   of
interest would be available to the Arbitral Tribunal only when
there is no agreement to the contrary between the parties.  The
phrase   “unless   otherwise   agreed   by   the   parties”   clearly
emphasizes that when the parties have agreed with regard to
any of the aspects covered under clause (a) of sub­section (7) of
Section 31 of the 1996 Act, the Arbitral Tribunal would cease to
have any discretion with regard to the aspects mentioned in the
said provision.  Only in the absence of such an agreement, the
20
Arbitral Tribunal would have a discretion to exercise its powers
under clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996
Act.  The discretion is wide enough.  It may grant or may not
grant interest.  It may grant interest for the entire period or any
part thereof.  It may also grant interest on the whole or any part
of the money.
19. If the contention as raised on behalf of the appellantDAMEPL is to be accepted, the phrase “unless otherwise agreed
by   the   parties”   would   be   rendered   redundant   and   would
become otiose.  
20. It will be apposite to refer to the following observation of
this Court in the case of Reserve Bank of India vs. Peerless
General Finance and Investment Co. Ltd. and others4
:
“33. Interpretation must depend on the
text and the context. They are the bases
of interpretation. One may well say if the
text is the texture, context is what gives
the colour. Neither can be ignored. Both
are important. That interpretation is best
which makes the textual interpretation
4 (1987) 1 SCC 424
21
match the contextual. A statute is best
interpreted when we know why it was
enacted.   With   this   knowledge,   the
statute must be read, first as a whole
and then section by section, clause by
clause, phrase by phrase and word by
word. If a statute is looked at, in the
context of its enactment, with the glasses
of the statute­maker, provided by such
context,   its   scheme,   the   sections,
clauses,   phrases   and   words   may   take
colour and appear different than when
the   statute   is   looked   at   without   the
glasses   provided   by   the   context.   With
these glasses we must look at the Act as
a whole and discover what each section,
each clause, each phrase and each word
is meant and designed to say as to fit
into the scheme of the entire Act. No part
of a statute and no word of a statute can
be construed in isolation. Statutes have
to be construed so that every word has a
place and everything is in its place. It is
by looking at the definition as a whole in
the   setting   of   the   entire   Act   and   by
reference   to   what   preceded   the
enactment and the reasons for it that the
Court   construed   the   expression   “Prize
Chit”   in Srinivasa [(1980)   4   SCC   507   :
(1981) 1 SCR 801 : 51 Com Cas 464] and
we   find   no   reason   to   depart   from   the
Court's construction.”
21. It could thus be seen that each and every word and each
and every phrase mentioned in the provision will have to be
22
given effect to.     Statutes have to be construed so that every
word has a place and everything is in its place. 
22. An   important   aspect   that   has   to   be   taken   into
consideration is that the 1996 Act itself emphasizes on party
autonomy.  As such, the legislative intent is clear that when the
parties have agreed to the contrary on any of the aspects as
mentioned in clause (a) of sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the
1996 Act, the Arbitral Tribunal will cease to have any discretion
and would be bound by an agreement between the parties.  
23. As   already   discussed   hereinabove,   any   interpretation
which would render the phrase “unless otherwise agreed by the
parties” otiose or redundant will have to be avoided.  It will be
apposite   to   refer   to   the   following   observations   of   the
Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of Hardeep Singh
vs. State of Punjab and others5
:
“44. No   word   in   a   statute   has   to   be
construed as surplusage. No word can be
rendered   ineffective   or   purposeless.
5 (2014) 3 SCC 92
23
Courts   are   required   to   carry   out   the
legislative   intent   fully   and   completely.
While construing a provision, full effect
is   to   be   given   to   the   language   used
therein, giving reference to the context
and other provisions of the statute. By
construction, a provision should not be
reduced   to   a   “dead   letter”   or   “useless
lumber”. An interpretation which renders
a   provision   otiose   should   be   avoided
otherwise it would mean that in enacting
such   a   provision,   the   legislature   was
involved in “an exercise in futility” and
the   product   came   as   a   “purposeless
piece”   of   legislation   and   that   the
provision had been enacted without any
purpose and the entire exercise to enact
such a provision was “most unwarranted
besides being uncharitable”. (Vide Patel
Chunibhai   Dajibha v. Narayanrao
Khanderao   Jambekar [AIR   1965   SC
1457]   , Martin   Burn   Ltd. v. Corpn.   of
Calcutta [AIR   1966   SC   529]   , M.V.
Elisabeth v. Harwan   Investment   and
Trading (P) Ltd. [1993 Supp (2) SCC 433 :
AIR   1993   SC   1014]   , Sultana
Begum v. Prem Chand Jain [(1997) 1 SCC
373]   , State   of   Bihar v. Bihar   Distillery
Ltd. [(1997) 2 SCC 453 : AIR 1997 SC
1511]   , Institute   of   Chartered
Accountants   of   India v. Price
Waterhouse [(1997)   6   SCC   312]
and South   Central   Railway   Employees
Coop.   Credit   Society   Employees'
Union v. Registrar   of   Coop.
24
Societies [(1998) 2 SCC 580 : 1998 SCC
(L&S) 703 : AIR 1998 SC 703] .)”
24. If the interpretation, as placed by the appellant­DAMEPL
is to be accepted, the phrase “unless otherwise agreed by the
parties” would be reduced to a “dead letter” or “useless lumber”.
In our considered view, such an interpretation would be wholly
impermissible.   
25. It appears from the facts in the case of Hyder Consulting
(UK) Limited (supra) that there was no agreement between the
parties with regard to payment of interest.  Such is not the case
here.     It   will   be   relevant   to   refer   to   Article   29.8   of   the
Concession Agreement, which reads thus:
“29.8 Termination   Payments:   The
Termination  Payment  pursuant
to this Agreement shall become
due   and   payable   to   the
Concessionaire by DMRC within
thirty days of a demand being
made   by   ∙the   Concessionaire
with   the   necessary   particulars
duly   certified   by   the   Statutory
Auditors.   If   DMRC   fails   to
disburse   the   full   Termination
25
Payment within 30 (thirty) days,
the   amount   remaining   unpaid
shall   be   disbursed   along   with
interest at an annualised rate of
SBI PLR plus two per cent for
the   period   of   delay   on   such
amount.”
26. It could thus clearly be seen that as per Article 29.8 of the
Concession   Agreement,   the   Termination   Payment   would
become due and payable to the Concessionaire by DMRC within
thirty days of a demand being made by the Concessionaire.  It
further provides that if the DMRC fails to disburse the full
Termination Payment within 30 days, the amount remaining
unpaid shall be disbursed along with interest at an annualized
rate of SBI PLR plus two per cent for the period of delay on
such amount.  It can thus clearly be seen that Article 29.8 of
the Concession Agreement deals with payment of interest on
Termination Payment amount. 
27. The Arbitral Tribunal rightly construing the Concession
Agreement has directed thus:
26
“129.  Therefore,   the   Termination
Payment  to  DAMEPL  works  out  to
Rs.   983.02   +Rs.   1260.73   +Rs.
538.58 crores =Rs. 2782.33 crores.
As   regards   rate   of   interest   on   the
Termination payment, the stipulation
of   Article   29.8   of   CA   is   at   an
annualized rate of SBI PLR +2%.  We
have   noted   from   the   financial
documents   of   DAMEPL   (Pg   299   of
CD11­Supplementary reply of DMRC
dated   22.2.2014   to   the   Counter
Claim   of   the   Respondent)   that   the
secured   loan   taken   by   DAMEPL
carries the rate of interest of 12.75%
on Rupee Term Loan and is in the
range of 4.83% to 5.6% for Foreign
Currency Loan. Although the rates of
interest on loans taken by DAMEPL
are lower than SBI PLR +2%, we are
of the opinion that it is beyond the
competence of the Tribunal to change
or alter or modify the provisions of
CA.  As   such,   we   decide   that   the
Termination payment will be as per
the provisions of Article 29.8 of CA
and   the   interest   on   the
Termination   payment   will   accrue
from   7.8.2013   (i.e.   the   date   30
days   after   the   demand   of
Termination   payment   by   DAMEPL
on 08.07.2013). In terms of Article
29.9   of   CA,   this   amount   shall   be
paid by  DMRC  by way  of credit to
27
the   Escrow   Account,   details   of
which   are   available   in   Annexure
CC­4   of   the   Counter   Claim.   We
award accordingly.
28. It is thus clear that the Arbitral Tribunal has directed that
the Termination payment would be as per the provisions of the
Concession   Agreement   and   the   interest   on   the   Termination
payment would accrue from 7th August, 2013 (i.e., the date 30
days after the demand of Termination payment by DAMEPL on
8
th July, 2013).  It is pertinent to note that though the Arbitral
Tribunal has found that the rates of interest on loans taken by
the appellant­  DAMEPL are lower than SBI PLR + 2%, it has
observed that it was beyond the competence of the Arbitral
Tribunal to change or alter or modify the provisions of the
Concession Agreement.   The  Arbitral Tribunal, therefore, has
granted interest at an annualized rate of SBI PLR + 2%, though
it had found that the rate of  interest on which the loan was
taken by the appellant­DAMEPL was on the lower side.   The
Arbitral   Tribunal,   therefore,   has   rightly   given   effect   to   the
28
specific agreement between the parties with regard to the rate
of interest.  We find that the arbitral award has been passed in
consonance with the provisions as contained in clause (a) of
sub­section (7) of Section 31 of the 1996 Act and specifically, in
consonance with the phrase “unless otherwise agreed by the
parties”.
29. As   already   discussed   herein   above,   from   the   majority
judgment of S.A. Bobde and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ. in the
case   of  Hyder   Consulting   (UK)   Limited  (supra),   it   would
appear   that   the   situation,   where   there   was   an   agreement
between the parties on the point of payment of interest, did not
fall for consideration in the said case.  
30. We may gainfully refer to the three­judge Bench judgment
of this Court in the case of  Union  of   India  and  others   vs.
Dhanwanti   Devi   and   others6
,   wherein   this   Court   has
observed thus:
6 (1996) 6 SCC 44
29
“9. …..Every   judgment   must   be   read   as
applicable to the particular facts proved, or
assumed to be proved, since the generality
of   the   expressions   which   may   be   found
there is not intended to be exposition of
the whole law, but governed and qualified
by the particular facts of the case in which
such expressions are to be found…”
31. It can thus clearly be seen that every judgment must be
read as applicable to the particular facts proved, or assumed to
be proved.  The generality of the expressions which are found in
a   judgment   cannot   be   considered   to   be   intended   to   be
exposition of the whole law.  They will have to be governed and
qualified  by  the   particular  facts   of  the   case  in   which   such
expressions are to be found.  
32. It will also be apposite to refer to the following observation
of another three­Judge Bench of this Court in the case of The
Regional Manager and another vs. Pawan Kumar Dubey7
:
“7. ……Even   where   there   appears   to   be
some conflict, it would, we think, vanish
when the ratio decidendi of each case is
7 (1976) 3 SCC 334
30
correctly   understood.   It   is   the   rule
deducible from the application of law to
the   facts   and   circumstances   of   a   case
which constitutes its ratio decidendi and
not   some   conclusion   based   upon   facts
which   may   appear   to   be   similar.   One
additional   or   different   fact   can   make   a
world of difference between conclusions in
two cases even when the same principles
are applied in each case to similar facts.”
33. This Court has held that the  ratio decidendi is the rule
deducible   from   the   application   of   law   to   the   facts   and
circumstances of a case which constitutes its ratio decidendi
and not some conclusion based upon facts which may appear
to be similar. It has been held that one additional or different
fact can make a world of difference between conclusions in two
cases even when the same principles are applied in each case to
similar facts.
34. As   discussed   hereinabove,   in   the   case   of  Hyder
Consulting   (UK)   Limited  (supra),   there   was   no   agreement
between the parties with regard to the payment of interest and
as such, the phrase “unless otherwise agreed by the parties”
31
did not fall for consideration in the said case.  As a caution, we
have also gone through the judgment of the High Court from
which the appeal arose to this Court in the case of  Hyder
Consulting   (UK)   Limited  (supra).     A   perusal   of   the   said
judgment   would   also   reveal   that   there   was   no   agreement
between the parties with regard to payment of interest.   As
such, in the case of  Hyder  Consulting (UK) Limited  (supra),
this Court did not have an occasion to consider the import of
the phrase “unless otherwise agreed by the parties”.  
35. We are therefore of the considered view that in view of the
specific agreement between the parties, the interest prior to the
date of award so also after the date of award will be governed by
Article 29.8 of the Concession Agreement, as has been directed
by the Arbitral Tribunal.  The findings recorded by the Arbitral
Tribunal have reached finality in view of the judgment and
order dated 9th September, 2021, passed by this Court in Civil
Appeal No.5627 of 2021 [arising out of Special Leave Petition
(Civil) No.4115 of 2019].
32
36. We   therefore,   see   no   error   in   the   observations   of   the
learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court in paragraph 30 of
the impugned judgment and order dated 10th  March, 2022,
passed in Execution Petition being OMP (ENF.) (COMM) No. 145
of 2021. 
37. In the result, we find no merit in the present appeal.  The
appeal is accordingly dismissed. 
38. Pending   application(s),   if   any,   shall   stand   disposed   of.
There shall be no order as to costs. 
…..….......................J.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]
…….........................J.       
[B.R. GAVAI]
NEW DELHI;
MAY 05, 2022.
33

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