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Tata Sons seeks to set aside UK court award to Docomo, files evidence

08 October 2016

Faced with an escalating legal battle with its erstwhile Japanese partner in its telecom joint venture, NTT Docomo, Tata Sons on Friday said it had filed evidence with English High Court supporting application to set aside an ex-parte order obtained by the Japanese telecom major.

''Tata Sons Limited on Friday filed evidence in support of its 5 September 2016, application before the English High Court of Justice. The application seeks to set aside the court's 25 July 2016 ex-parte order that granted NTT Docomo Inc leave to enforce the LCIA arbitral award dated 22 June 2016.

The company said the evidence submitted to the London court outlines the grounds on which enforcement of the award will be resisted by Tata Sons.

The company has pointed out that Docomo has not validly tendered its shares in Tata Teleservices Limited to Tata Sons, which is a necessary condition precedent to payment by Tata of the sum awarded by the arbitral tribunal.

Also, performance of the award without approval by the Reserve Bank of India would be illegal under Indian law and/or contrary to public policy, Tata Sons pointed out in the evidence (See: DoCoMo dispute: Tata Sons to deposit $1.2-bn arbitration award with Delhi HC).

Tata Sons said the arbital tribunal left open the issue of applicability of the award, especially as it requires permission of the Reserve Bank of India.       

''Tata Sons wishes to clarify that, by pursuing the above application before the English High Court, it is following the path laid down by the arbitral tribunal in the award. The arbitral tribunal, with Docomo's encouragement, expressly left open the issue of whether performance of the award would require approval from the Reserve Bank of India. Tata sought such approval and was refused. Accordingly, Tata Sons' actions do not, in any manner, detract from its stated commitment to discharge its obligations to the fullest extent permitted under law.

Tata Sons said it has already deposited a sum of $1.17 billion, representing the entire amount due under the award, with the Delhi High Court since July 2016, which is evidence of the company's willingness to comply with the tribunal's award.

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