Mafatlal vs. MTNL: Dispute Resolution and Contractual Obligations

Explore the complexities of dispute resolution and contractual obligations in the case involving Mafatlal and MTNL. The Delhi High Court’s judgment sheds light on the intricacies of arbitration proceedings, damages claims, and the interpretation of contractual terms. Dive into the legal intricacies of this case with us.


  • MTNL challenges the amounts awarded in favor of Mafatlal and the denial of its counterclaims.
  • Mafatlal filed a petition for appointment of a receiver to dispose of the balance quantity of goods.
  • MTNL directed Mafatlal to wait for a decision regarding supply and payment for uniforms.
  • The arbitral proceedings involved claims for damages, working capital loss, business loss, loss of goodwill, and compensation for various aspects.
  • Mafatlal and Sandhya were claimants in the arbitration, with MTNL making counterclaims.
  • The termination of the contract by MTNL led to claims for contract price, storage, and insurance costs.
  • Local commissioner appointed to dispose of goods to realize correct market value.
  • Various claims and counterclaims were rejected, with specific amounts awarded to Mafatlal.
  • MTNL also made an application challenging maintenance costs demanded by Mafatlal.
  • Goods were ultimately sold to Vaishnavi Textiles for a specified amount.
  • Legal costs and compensation for litigation were also part of the claims by the parties.
  • The Award holds Mafatlal to the obligation of mitigation but awards damages without mitigation being proved.
  • Damages are awarded for the use of Mafatlal’s godown and moth-proofing of goods at specified rates.
  • Damages are granted based on the ‘cost price’ of the cloth despite MTNL not attempting to mitigate damages by selling the cloth in the open market.


  • The issue at hand is whether the respondent could invoke clause 6 of the Conditions of Contract after the claimant had already manufactured and offered the supplies within the stipulated period.
  • The claimant had manufactured and offered to deliver the balance quantity well within the agreed schedule of delivery.
  • The key point of examination is the timing of the respondent’s invocation of clause 6 in relation to the claimant’s actions and offers.


  • The contract did not provide for recovery of the price by Mafatlal at all.
  • The cost price calculated by the Arbitrator was incorrect.
  • Mafatlal is unable to fulfill its obligation to deliver the balance quantity of cloth to MTNL.
  • The Award is questioned as being in the nature of specific performance.
  • MTNL’s claim under Section 17 did not suggest the goods could have been disposed of.
  • Mafatlal was not obliged to sell the goods but to preserve them as per orders.
  • The Arbitrator erred in awarding the amount for the cloth price to Mafatlal since Sandhya had the contractual entitlement.
  • Mitigation was argued based on the customization of the goods for MTNL.
  • Property passed to MTNL as the goods were tendered in a deliverable state.
  • Mafatlal had the statutory right to exercise a lien on the goods and resell them.
  • Mr. Mudgal contended that claim No.6 lacked evidence.
  • Sandhya was deleted from the array of parties at the instance of MTNL itself in the impugned Award.
  • Mr. Rustagi disputed the characterization of the Award as specific performance and clarified that Sandhya would not have any separate claim if the Award is satisfied in favor of Mafatlal.
  • Mr. Rustagi emphasized that there was no dispute between Sandhya and Mafatlal regarding the entitlement to recover the payment of the contract price.
  • The award of Rs. 1 per meter per year for moth-proofing the balance quantity of cloth was not supported by evidence and would not be pressed.
  • The sale was undertaken by a local commissioner appointed by the Court, and Mafatlal is willing to give credit to MTNL for Rs. 25,58,967/- in lieu of handing over the goods in line with the Award.
  • Mafatlal was not required to mitigate its losses as the contract had been breached by MTNL.
  • The claimed amounts had been proved by Mafatlal’s witness in his affidavit of evidence, and MTNL did not provide any contrary evidence.
  • The sale of goods after the making of the Award does not render the Award vulnerable to challenge as MTNL had consented to it.
  • Regarding the quantification of claims for storage and maintenance of goods, Mr. Rustagi explained that since the goods were stored in Mafatlal’s own facility, damages were claimed instead of reimbursement of actual costs paid if stored in a third-party facility.


  • The arbitration cannot continue with Sandhya as one of the claimants, as the deletion of Sandhya as a party to arbitration was at the instance of MTNL.
  • The Award is based on the value of the storage facility of Mafatlal and the cost of moth-proofing the cloth, as well as the claimant’s evidence of efforts to sell the cloth in the market.
  • The Award quantified damages based on the cost at which Sandhya was to procure the goods from Mafatlal, and not the production cost incurred by Mafatlal.
  • The Award is conditional upon Mafatlal delivering the balance quantity of goods to MTNL, but the goods have already been sold.
  • The sale of goods was done under the orders of the Court, where Mafatlal would be free to dispose of the goods on its own.
  • The award of storage charges at Rs. 50 per sq. foot per month was based on the evidence provided by Mafatlal and the rejection of their quantification.
  • The award of damages by the arbitrator was not based on a duty to mitigate losses, as the goods were produced to MTNL’s specific samples.
  • The claims raised by MTNL for damages and short supply of goods were addressed in the arbitration award.
  • The award did not amount to specific performance, but rather quantified damages based on the breach of contract by MTNL in not accepting the supplies within the prescribed period.
  • The claimant No. 1’s testimony and evidence regarding the contractual obligations and delivery of goods were significant factors in the arbitration award.
  • The learned Arbitrator found no infirmity in the rejection of the counter-claim by Sandhya for a refund of commission at the rate of 15% paid by Mafatlal.
  • The terms of the contract between Mafatlal and Sandhya included a composite contract price of Rs. 369.50/- per meter.
  • Based on the contract terms, the Arbitrator rejected Sandhya’s claim for a commission refund.


  • OMP(COMM) 42/2017 and OMP(COMM) 62/2017 dismissed as not pressed
  • Report to be submitted to the Court by the LC upon completion of the exercise
  • OMP(COMM) 34/2017 filed by MTNL partly allowed – Award for claim No.6 set aside
  • Claim No 3 not reopened at the instance of MTNL
  • Mafatlal and Sandhya’s challenges to the Award not pressed
  • Challenge to the rest of the claims and denial of counterclaims rejected
  • Mafatlal free to invoke arbitration afresh on the claim


Case Number: OMC-62/2017

Click here to read/download original judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *