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ICYMI: Devas Shareholders Make Move in London Courts to Safeguard Award from Expropriation by Indian Government

Last week, the Economic Times and Law360 reported that the English Commercial Court in London has ruled that shareholders of Devas Multimedia should be allowed to join ongoing efforts to enforce a $1.3 billion arbitral award against the Indian government.

In his judgment granting the shareholders the right to join as parties, Mr Justice Waksman noted, “there is a need for them to be joined in order that (a) the judgment on the award can be preserved; and (b) at least as far as this court is concerned, the award can be properly enforced.”

Mr Justice Waksman continued, “The reason why that is not happening at the moment, on the claimant’s case, is because the State of India (“India”), of which for these purposes the defendant to the arbitral award can be considered a part, is taking steps both in India and around the world, in other places where the arbitral award has been registered as a judgment, to undo it, so that the award will become ineffective. One particular step is that it has procured an order by the Indian National Company Court to place the claimant in liquidation. That order is currently under appeal and there may be further appeals; but the present effect of that liquidation is that (according at least to the claimants), the liquidator is doing India’s bidding and taking steps to render nugatory the steps which had been taken to enforce the arbitral award in favour of that very party ie the claimant.”

In explaining the judgment, India’s Economic Times highlights that “Judge David Waksman of the High Court of Justice on Friday concluded that the application by Devas (Mauritius) Ltd and other investors in the company to join the proceedings was “well founded”, especially since the satellite company has been placed in liquidation in India.”

Law360 reported “Antrix has ‘used its parent state to orchestrate a government occupation of its opponent, Devas, in order to corrupt the adversarial process and cause Devas to take actions to undermine its own award and resulting judgment and to join with Antrix in a collusive agreement to surrender its award and this court’s judgment.’”

A spokesperson for Devas was quoted in Economic Times highlighting the significance of the moment: “We look forward to serving the Indian government and moving one step closer to satisfying the judgements of more than $1.5 billion owed to the shareholders of Devas. We will continue to pursue enforcement of the arbitration awards in courts around the world and hope the Indian government soon chooses to end its campaign to evade binding international judgements, and its campaign to expropriate Devas.”

The decision from the English Commercial Court can be read here.

Read the full details on Law360 here.

Read the Economic Times story here.

Read the full timeline of the Devas case against Antrix and India here.