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Facts 

Land belonging to the respondent, Bhola Prasad Agrawal, was acquired in accordance with the National Highways Act of 1956 (NHA), and the appropriate authorities issued an order giving compensation in accordance with Section 3G of the NHA. 

In order to request an increase in compensation, the responder submitted a request to the arbitrator. The award made by the arbitrator increased the first respondent's compensation. 

The Union of India, the appellant, sought to have the arbitral judgement set aside by filing a case before the District Court pursuant to Section 34 of the A&C Act, however the case was denied due to time constraints. The Union of India objected to this and filed an appeal with the Chhattisgarh High Court in accordance with Section 37 of the A&C Act.

The appeal that was brought by the applicant under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (A&C Act), against the District Court's decision to deny their request to annul the arbitral award on the basis of time limitations. 

Arguments made 

The appellant/Union of India argued before the High Court that it wasn't until respondent no. 1 made a request for the award amount's payment to the appropriate body under the NHA that the appellant/Union of India learned of the Arbitrator's decision.

The appellant argued that it was not given the arbitral award as required by Section 31(5) of the A&C Act and added that it had not yet received a certified copy of the award. 

The Union of India argued that in order to conclude the arbitral proceedings, it is necessary to provide the signed copies of the award to both parties. The Union of India further argued that the limitation for filing an application under Section 34 would begin a day after the party received the award. Furthermore, it was argued that the arbitral proceedings could not be considered concluded until it received the signed copy of the award.

Judgement 

The Chhattisgarh High Court ruled that even though the delivery of a signed copy of the arbitral award to each party to the arbitration proceedings is a requirement sine qua non, the award debtor cannot be said to have suffered harm simply because the signed copy was not delivered to him if he already knew about the award and was able to file an application to set it aside. 

The applicant had filed an application challenging the award after a period of one year had passed since becoming aware of it, the Court held, that the lower court had therefore correctly dismissed the application despite the fact that the applicant had not received the signed copy of the award as required by Section 31(5) of the A&C Act.

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