The Supreme Court has stated that the Arbitration and Conciliation Act would apply to all civil disputes, and not merely to commercial disputes. It set aside the view of the Karnataka high court in the case, H Srinivas Pai Vs H V Pai, in which the high court remarked that the law will apply only to “commercial agreement matters and international commercial matters.”

In that case, the dispute was over partition of property, a civil dispute. Contradicting the high court view, the Supreme Court ruled that the “applicability of the Act does not depend upon the dispute being a commercial dispute. Reference to arbitration and arbitrability depends upon the existence of an arbitration agreement, and not upon the question whether it is a civil dispute or commercial dispute. There can be arbitration agreements in non-commercial civil disputes also.”

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