Stamp duty not necessary on foreign arbitration awards in India: SC

The Supreme Court of India ruled that the payment of stamp duty is not necessary for the enforcement of foreign arbitration awards in India.

The Court said that the expression ‘award’ under Item 12 of Schedule I of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 has never included a foreign award from the very inception till date.

“…….the expression “award” has never included a foreign award from the very inception till date. Consequently, a foreign award not being includible in Schedule I of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, [Act] is not liable for stamp duty”, the Court opined.

The Court further added that under the Act, “……..‘award’ would refer only to a decision in writing by an arbitrator or umpire in a reference not made by an order of the Court in the course of a suit. This would apply only to such award made at the time in British India, and today, after the amendment of Section 1(2) of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 by Act 43 of 1955, to awards made in the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

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