By Bidisha Barman
December 6, 2021: The Supreme Court of India heard an appeal filed by Lalit Modi against the judgment of a division bench of the Delhi High Court which held that the anti-arbitration injunction lawsuit filed by Bina Modi against her son Lalit Modi is maintainable. A bench headed by the Chief Justice N. V. Ramana, after hearing the brief arguments from a battery of senior lawyers appearing on both the sides, stated that it was a family dispute over property and money, thus it suggested mediation or arbitration in India to resolve the case. Earlier, the division bench of the Delhi high court had held that it had the jurisdiction to decide Bina Modi's plea challenging Lalit Modi's move to initiate arbitration proceedings in Singapore. The division bench of the Supreme Court had set aside the judgment of a single judge of the Delhi High court which had said that it does not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate the anti-arbitration injunction suits filed by Lalit Modi's mother Bina Modi , his sister Charu and brother Samir and they are open to take such pleas before the arbitral tribunal in Singapore. Bina Modi, Charu and Samir, in two separate suits, contended that there was a trust deed between the family members and the KK Modi family trust matters cannot be settled through arbitration in a foreign country as per Indian laws. They have sought permanent injunction restraining Lalit Modi from prosecuting or continuing with the application for emergency measures and any arbitration proceedings against them in Singapore. The bench stated that, “We are of the considered view that the single judge gravely erred by failing to exercise the jurisdiction vested in the court, which statutorily required him to adjudicate, whether the disputes between the parties, in relation to the trust deed, were per se referable to arbitration. This, in our respectful view, is tantamount to wrong exercise of jurisdiction by the single judge. The impugned judgment cannot resultantly be sustained.”
Thus, the Supreme court suggested mediation to Lalit Modi and his mother Bina Modi, wife of late industrialist K K Modi, to resolve the long pending property dispute in the family and asked both the parties to give the names of mediators of their choice.
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