Bina Modi’s plea towards son Lalit’s Singapore arbitration transfer is maintainable: Delhi HC


Mumbai: In a reduction for Bina Modi, the widow of industrialist KK Modi, a division bench of the Delhi High Court has clarified that the court docket has jurisdiction to determine on her plea to problem her son Lalit Modi’s transfer to provoke arbitration proceedings in Singapore over the household’s property.

In March, a single-judge bench had dismissed her plea saying that the Delhi HC didn’t have jurisdiction to restrain Lalit Modi on his choice to provoke arbitration proceedings in Singapore for settling the property of her late husband. Her two different youngsters, Charu Bharti and Samir Modi, had additionally joined her within the petition.

“The topic dispute must have been prima facie adjudicated by the one decide, who needed to train the jurisdiction vested within the court docket,” mentioned the division bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh. “(a) all events are Indian residents, (b) situs of immovable property of the Belief is in India and (c) within the restated belief deed itself, it’s categorically stipulated that the identical shall be ruled in accordance with the legal guidelines in India,” it mentioned.

“We’re of the thought-about view that the realized single decide gravely erred by failing to train the jurisdiction vested within the court docket, which statutorily required him to adjudicate, whether or not the disputes between the events, in relation to the belief deed, had been per se referable to arbitration,” the court docket mentioned in its 103-page order.

The division bench has directed the single-judge bench to listen to the case and directed the court docket registry to record the matter earlier than the decide for January 8.

The bone of rivalry between the 2 factions within the excessive court docket was over the authorized discussion board for the household to settle the problem of the sale of the property and distribution of proceeds.

Bina Modi and her two youngsters, Charu Bharti and Samir Modi, argued that there was a belief deed between the members of the family and that the belief issues can’t be settled by means of arbitration abroad as per Indian legal guidelines.

“It’s nicely settled in India, that any dispute which arises inter se between the trustees or the trustees on the one hand and the beneficiaries on the opposite or between beneficiaries inter se is just not arbitrable,” argued legal professionals for Bina Modi. “The explanation offered for non-arbitrability is that such disputes are topic to the unique jurisdiction of “courts” beneath the Trusts Act, which is an entire code for the aim of the mentioned disputes.”

Attorneys for Lalit Modi had argued that the restated belief deed was executed within the UK, and on the time of its execution Singapore was opted because the seat of arbitration. The query of arbitrability could be ruled by Singaporean regulation and never Indian regulation and any limitations on arbitration of such disputes in Indian regulation would thus be irrelevant, he had claimed.

Lalit Modi, now primarily based in London, is opposing his mom and siblings’ argument and seems eager to promote household stakes in group corporations together with flagship Godfrey Phillips, and distribute the proceeds among the many heirs and their household.

Lalit Modi’s legal professionals additionally argued that the household belief deed had been signed by all members of the family. If the members of the family failed to achieve a settlement throughout the necessary 30 days from the demise of KK Modi, a clause within the belief deed allowed the property to be offered and the proceeds to be distributed as per the belief settlement. In accordance with the belief deed, the beneficiaries will get one 12 months to finish the sale course of.

The dispute emerged among the many trustees after the demise of KK Modi in November 2019.

The household controls Modi Enterprises and owns a considerable stake in tobacco agency Godfrey Philip India, speciality chemical firm Indofil Industries and comfort retailer chain 24 seven amongst different property.

Senior counsels Mukul Rohatgi and Kapil Sibal, together with regulation agency Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, represented Bina Modi and her two youngsters within the court docket, whereas Lalit Modi was represented by senior counsel Harish Salve together with regulation agency DMD Advocates.

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