How to ascertain limitation for filing application for setting aside arbitration award as per S 34 of Arbitration Act?
Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the "1996 Act") stipulates grounds to challenge the arbitral award made under Section 31. However, the challenge to the award can only be made within limitation period of three months from the date of receipt of the award. This period of limitation can be further extended by 30 days in cases where the applicant is able to show sufficient cause for delay in filing petition under Section 34. It is pertinent to note that Section 34 provides for calculation of limitation period from the date of receipt of the award. In contrast, Section 31(5) of the 1996 Act provides only for the deliveryof the award to the parties which is followed by termination of arbitration proceedings. The term receipt is not used under Section 31(5) of the Act. The gap between "delivery" and "receipt" is further highlighted by reading of Section 3 of the 1996 Act which stipulates that a communication is "deemed receipt" on the date of delivery. Does this entail that delivery of the award amounts to receipt and the period of limitation is to be calculated from the date of delivery of award.