Delhi High Court backs UK's Vodafone against Indian Govt
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed the Centre's plea challenging Vodafone's move of initiating international arbitration against India under the India-UK Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA) in connection with a tax demand of Rs 11,000 crore under a retrospective law of 2012.
The high court, however, granted liberty to the government to raise the issue of "abuse of process" before the India-United Kingdom BIPA tribunal.
"However, keeping in view the findings, vis-a-vis the abuse of process, kompetenz-kompetenz issues, the present suit and application are dismissed with liberty to the plaintiff Union of India to raise the issue of abuse of process before India-United Kingdom BIPA, that now stands constituted," Justice Manmohan said in an 81-page judgement.
Kompetenz-kompetenz, or competence-competence, is a jurisprudential doctrine whereby a legal body like a court or tribunal, may have competence or jurisdiction, to rule to the extent of its own competence.
The judge said the UK tribunal will take into account the undertaking given by Vodafone Group Plc and Vodafone Consolidated Holdings Ltd to the court that if the Centre gives its consent, it would agree to the consolidation of the two BIPA arbitration proceedings before the India-UK BIPA tribunal. Court also vacated its August 22 last year's ex-parte interim order by which it had restrained the company from taking any further action under the Notice of Arbitration of January 24, 2017 under India-UK BIPA.