To mitigate the consequences of the nationwide lockdown, the High Court of Allahabad issued certain directions on 26.03.2020. Given the previous directions issued on 26.03.2020, the High Court of Allahabad, in a suo moto case, issued more directions in the interest of the public at large.
The HC in its order directed, “As per provisions of Section 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 the award in the mater other than international commercial arbitration is required to be made within a period of twelve months from the date of completion of pleadings under sub-section (4) of Section 23. The requirement of Section 29A of the Act is mandatory by nature. However, looking to the extraordinary circumstances, it is desirable to extend the period aforesaid. Accordingly, it is directed that if in any arbitral proceedings the pleadings under sub-section (4) of Section 23 of the Act have been completed and the period of twelve months has expired or is going to be expired on or after 25th March 2020 then the same stands extended up to 25th May 2020.”
Probing into the matters of bail sureties, the court stated that bail orders might not be executed due to problems in arranging sureties because of the lockdown. Accordingly, the court waived the sureties temporarily and held:
“We deem it appropriate to order that all the accused-applicants whose bail applications came to be allowed on or after 15th March 2020 but have not been released due to non-availability of sureties as a consequence to lockdown may be released on executing personal bond as ordered by the Court or to the satisfaction of the jail authorities where such accused is imprisoned, provided the accused-applicants undertakes to furnish required sureties within a period of one month from the date of his/her actual release.”
The order was passed by a bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma.