Tag Archives: fraud

Arbitration Agreement —Inoperative or Incapable of Being Performed

Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration (5th Edition) published by the Oxford University Press has explained the meaning of these words “inoperative or incapable of being performed” used in the New York Convention, thus:
“At first sight it is difficult to see a distinction between the terms ‘inoperative’ and ‘incapable of being performed’. However, an arbitration clause is inoperative where it has ceased to have effect as a result, for example, of a failure by the parties to comply with a time-limit, or where the parties have by their conduct impliedly revoked the arbitration agreement. By contrast, the expression ‘incapable of being performed’ appears to refer to more practical aspects of the prospective arbitration proceedings. It applies, for example, if for some reason it is impossible to establish the arbitral tribunal.”
Albert Jan Van Den Berg, in an article titled “The New York Convention, 1958—An Overview” published in the website of ICCA (www.arbitration-icca.org/media/0/12125884227980/newyorkconventionof1958overview.pdf) referring to Artcile II(3) of the New York Convention, states:
“The words ‘null and void’ may be interpreted as referring to those cases where the arbitration agreement is affected by some invalidity right from the beginning, such as lack of consent due to misrepresentation, duress, fraud or undue influence.
The word ‘inoperative’ can be said to cover those cases where the arbitration agreement has ceased to have effect, such as revocation by the parties.
The words ‘incapable of being performed’ would seem to apply to those cases where the arbitration cannot be effectively set into motion. This may happen where the arbitration clause is too vaguely worded, or other terms of the contract contradict the parties intention to arbitrate, as in the case of the so-called co-equal forum selection clauses. Even in these cases, the courts interpret the contract provisions in favour of arbitration.”
The book Recognition and Conferment of Foreign Arbitral Awards: A Global Commentary on the New York Convention by Kronke, Nacimiento, et al (ed.) (2010) says:
“Most authorities hold that the same schools of thought and approaches regarding the term null and void also apply to terms inoperative and incapable of being performed. Consequently, the majority of authorities do not interpret these terms uniformly, resulting in an unfortunate lack of uniformity.
The term inoperative refers to cases where the arbitration agreement has ceased to have effect by the time the court is asked to refer the parties to arbitration. For example, the arbitration agreement ceases to have effect if there has already been an arbitral award or a court decision with res judicata effect concerning the same subject-matter and parties. However, the mere existence of multiple proceedings is not sufficient to render the arbitration agreement inoperative. Additionally, the arbitration agreement can cease to have effect if the time-limit for initiating the arbitration or rendering the award has expired, provided that it was the parties’ intent no longer to be bound by the arbitration agreement due to the expiration of this time-limit.
Finally, several authorities have held that the arbitration agreement ceases to have effect if the parties waive arbitration. There are many possible ways of waiving a right to arbitrate. Most commonly, a party will waive the right to arbitrate if, in a court proceeding, it fails to properly invoke the arbitration agreement or if it actively pursues claims covered by the arbitration agreement.”
Thus the arbitration agreement does not become “inoperative or incapable of being performed” where allegations of fraud have to be inquired into and the court cannot refuse to refer the parties to arbitration as provided in Section 45 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 on the ground that allegations of fraud have been made by the party which can only be inquired into by the court and not by the arbitrator. N. Radhakrishnan v. Maestro Engineers, (2010) 1 SCC 72 and Abdul Kadir Shamsuddin Bubere v. Madhav Prabhakar Oak, AIR 1962 SC 406 were decisions rendered in the context of domestic arbitration and not in the context of arbitrations under the New York Convention to which Section 45 of the Act applies. In the case of such arbitrations covered by the New York Convention, the court can decline to make a reference of a dispute covered by the arbitration agreement only if it comes to the conclusion that the arbitration agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed and not on the ground that allegations of fraud or misrepresentation have to be inquired into while deciding the disputes between the parties. World Sport Group (Mauritius) Ltd. V. MSM Satellite (Singapore) PTE Ltd., (2014) 11 SCC 639.

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False Documents

An analysis of Section 464 of the Penal Code shows that it divides false documents into three categories:
(1) The first is where a person dishonestly or fraudulently makes or executes a document with the intention of causing it to be believed that such document was made or executed by some other person, or by the authority of some other person, by whom or by whose authority he knows it was not made or executed.
(2) The second is where a person dishonestly or fraudulently, by cancellation or otherwise, alters a document in any material part, without lawful authority, after it has been made or executed by either himself or any other person.
(3) The third is where a person dishonestly or fraudulently causes any person to sign, execute or alter a document knowing that such person could not by reason of (a) unsoundness of mind; or (b) intoxication; or (c) deception practiced upon him, know the contents of the document or the nature of the alteration.
In short, a person is said to have made a ‘false document’. If (i) he made or executed a document claiming to be someone else or authorized by someone else; or (ii) he altered or tampered a document; or (iii) he obtained a document by practicing deception, or from a person not in control of his senses. Ajay Narayan Ram v. State of U.P., 2014 (84) ACC 479.

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Filed under Criminal Law, False Documents

Allegations of fraud, misrepresentation and undue influence – Burden of Proof

When fraud, misrepresentation or undue influence is alleged by a party in a suit, normally, the burden is on him to prove such fraud, undue influence or misrepresentation. But when a person is in a fiduciary relationship with another and the latter is in a position of active confidence, the burden of proving the absence of fraud, misrepresentation or undue influence is upon the person in dominating position and he has to prove that there was fair play in the transaction and that the apparent is the real, that the transaction is genuine and bona fide. In such a case the burden of proving the good faith of the transaction is thrown upon the dominant party , that is to say, the party who is in a position of active confidence. A Person standing in a fiduciary relation to another has a duty to protect the interest given to his care and the court watches with jealousy all transactions between such persons so that the protector may not use his influence or the confidence to his advantage. When the party complaining shows such relation, the law presumes everything against the transaction and the onus is cast against the person holding the position of confidence or trust to show that that the transaction is perfectly fair and reasonable, that no advantage has been taken of his position. This principle has been engrained in Section 111 of the Evidence Act, 1872. The rule here laid down is in accordance with a principle long acknowledged and administered in Courts of Equity in England and America. This principle is that he who bargains in a matter of advantage with a person who places confidence in him is bound to show that a proper and reasonable use has been made of that confidence. The transaction is not necessarily void ipso facto nor is it necessary for those who impeach it to establish that there has been fraud or imposition, but the burden of establishing its perfect fairness, adequacy and equity is cast upon the person in whom the confidence has been reposed. The rule applies equally to all persons standing in confidential relations with each other. Agents, trustees, executors, administrators, auctioneers and other have been held to fall within the rule. The section requires that the party on whom the burden o proof is laid should have been in a position of active confidence. Where fraud is alleged, the rule has been clearly established in England that in case of a stranger equity will not set aside a voluntary deed or donation, however improvident it may be, if it be free from the imputation of fraud, surprise, undue influence and spontaneously executed or made by the donor with his eyes open. Where an active confidential, or fiduciary relation exists between the parties, there the burden of proof is on the done or those claiming through him. It has further been laid down that where a person gains a great advantage over another by a voluntary instrument, the burden of proof is thrown upon the person receiving the benefit and he is under the necessity of showing that the transaction is fair and honest. Pratima Chowdhury v. Kalpana Mukherjee, (2014) 4 SCC 196.

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Filed under Burden of Proof, Civil Law

Undue Influence

In a recent Judgment of the Allahabad High Court it was held as under:
“Undue influence does not connote excessive, inordinate or disproportionate influence but something wrongful. Acts of undue influence sometime range themselves under either coercion or fraud. Person having influence over another and by that influence induces the will of the other to his subjection, then it is such coercion as is sufficient to constitute undue influence. It is an influence whereby control is obtained over the mind of the victim by insidious approaches and seductive artifices. It may arise where parties stand to one another in a relation of confidence which puts one of them in a position to exercise over the other, an influence, which may be perfectly natural and proper in itself, but , is capable of being unfairly used. The question whether a party is in a position to dominate other is broadly a question of fact. No general law can be laid down as to when one would be in a position to dominate over the will of the other owing to complexities of human nature and relations. It may arise due to personal relationship as a result of circumstances, in which the contract was entered into. In Inchenoriah Binte Mohd. Tahir v. Shaik Allie Bin Omar Bin Abdullah Bahashuan, AIR 1929 PC 3, it was held, where the donor is not only an old lady of feeble health but is also entirely dependent upon the done, her nephew, even for food and clothes, there is sufficient relation between them to presume undue influence being responsible for bringing about the gift.
A person of hundred years age, indebted to third parties and for the purpose of managing his own livelihood, dependent upon another can be said to be in a position to be influenced and dominated by the will of such person on whom he relies and depends.
Undue influence was read alongwith fraud and coercion and in Bishundeo Narain and another v. Seogeni Rai and Jagernath, AIR 1951 SC 280, it was held that in cases of fraud, “undue influence” and coercion, the parties pleading it must set forth full particulars and the case can only be decided on the particulars as laid. There can be no departure from them in evidence. General allegations are insufficient even to amount to an averment of fraud of which any court ought to take notice however strong the language in which they are couched may be, and the same applies to undue influence and coercion.” Haridwar(D) through his legal heirs v. Smt. Kulwant (D) through her legal heirs, 2013 (4) AWC 3302.

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Filed under Civil Law, undue influence


“Deceit” in the law, has a broad significance. Any device or false representation by which one man misleads another to his injury and fraudulent misrepresentations by which one man deceives another to the injury of the latter are deceit. Deceit is a false statement of fact made by a person knowingly or recklessly with intent that it shall be acted upon by another who does act upon it and thereby suffers an injury. It is always a personal act and is intermediate when compared with fraud. Deceit is sort of a trick or contrivance to defraud another. It is an attempt to deceive and includes any declaration that misleads another or causes him to believe what is false. Ram Chandra Bhagat v. State of Jharkhand. (2013) 1 SCC 562.

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Filed under Criminal Law, deceit, Uncategorized