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Insufficiency Of The Stamp Duty On The Arbitration Agreement Is A Jurisdictional Issue Under Section 16 Of The A&C Act: Delhi High Court

[26 April 2022] The High Court of Delhi has held that the sufficiency of the stamp duty on the arbitration agreement is a jurisdictional issue under Section 16 of the A&C Act. The Single Bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula has held that an objection as to the deficiency in the stamp duty shall be decided as a preliminary issue since the inadequately stamped arbitration agreement can neither be taken in evidence nor can be acted upon, therefore, the tribunal should direct the parties to first get the agreement sufficiently stamped before adjudicating rights and obligations under the agreement. The Court reiterated that when an insufficiently stamped instrument is presented before the arbitrator, he shall impound the same and direct the parties to pay the requisite stamp duty.

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