The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir has issued a significant ruling, affirming that the filing of an English translated copy of a foreign award, certified by an official or sworn translator, complies with Section 47(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation (A&C) Act. This provision states that, for the enforcement of a foreign award, a translated copy of the award must be filed, which should be certified by the Consular or Diplomatic agent of the award holder’s country.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal’s bench referred to Article V of the New York Convention in interpreting Article 47 of the A&C Act. The ruling essentially maintains that an English translated copy of the award, certified as accurate by an official or sworn translator of the country where the award was issued, is sufficient to meet the requirements of Section 47. This interpretation aims to ensure that no tampering with the award or its findings occurs during translation into English.
The Court also clarified that Part-II of the A&C Act, 1996 applies to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. It highlighted that the absence of Part-II from Section 1(2) of the A&C Act does not preclude its applicability to the former state.
The petitioner filed an application under Section 47 & 49 of the A&C Act to enforce a foreign award dated 11.02.2015. This award arose from disputes between the parties and was rendered in Germany, in the German language.
The respondent/award debtor raised objections, challenging the application for two main reasons:
1. Non-Applicability of Part-II : The award debtor argued that Part-II of the A&C Act had never been made applicable to the erstwhile State of J&K, citing that only Part-I, Part-III, and Part-IV were made applicable under Section 1(2) of the Act.
2. Non-Compliance with Section 47(2) : In the event that the Act was deemed to apply to J&K, the respondent contended that the petitioner failed to adhere to the provisions of Section 47(2) of the A&C Act. Section 47(2) mandates that an award in a foreign language must be translated and certified by the Diplomatic or Consular agent of the award holder’s country.
The High Court dismissed the respondent’s objection regarding the non-applicability of Part-II of the A&C Act to the former State of J&K. It cited the Supreme Court’s ruling in the BALCO case, which affirmed that Part-II extends to the erstwhile State of J&K.
The Court then addressed’the objection concerning the translated copy of the award. The petitioner had filed a copy of the translation, which was done by Dr. Ralph A Fellow, a translator certified by the General Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany. The Court observed that the respondent had not disputed Dr. Ralph’s status or competence as a publicly appointed interpreter and translator. Instead, the respondent had raised objections based on the technicalities of Section 47(2) to hinder the execution of the award.
The Court ruled that the filing of an English translated copy, certified by an official or sworn translator, indeed satisfies the requirement of Section 47(2) of the A&C Act. This provision necessitates the submission of a translated copy of an award in a foreign language for the purpose of enforcing the foreign award.
In reaching its conclusion, the Court invoked Article V of the New York Convention to interpret Article 47 of the A&C Act. This interpretation was pivotal in affirming that an English translated copy of the award, when certified as accurate by a sworn or official translator in the country where the award was issued, fulfills Section 47’s requirements. The Court’s decision underscores the importance of ensuring the integrity of award translations while facilitating the enforcement of foreign awards.