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Kochhar & Co. Advocates & Legal Consultants 

April, 2020 - India



Kochhar & Co. Successfully Represents Wells Fargo Bank Before the Bombay High Court


Kochhar & Co. successfully represented Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. before the Bombay High Court which denied an ad interim direction sought by Standard Retail Pvt. Ltd. and other steel importers for restraining the banks involved from negotiating / encashing Letters of Credit (“LCs”).

The team of Kochhar & Co. was led by Senior Partner, Krishna Vijay Singh and Partner, Manish Dembla, Kochhar & Co. Gurgaon. The other Kochhar lawyers involved in the matter were Rajarshi Chakrabarty, Senior Resident Partner, Kochhar & Co. Mumbai, and associates, Avinav Mukherjee, Rushil Mathur and Nachiketa Goyal.

The Petitioners (steel importers) had inter alia contended that: (i) they had invoked the Force Majeure clause and had terminated the contracts; (ii) the contracts had been rendered unenforceable on account of frustration as they could not receive the steel product shipments on account of the COVID 19 related lockdown.

The Bombay High Court vide a common order dated April 8, 2020 refused to grant any relief to the Petitioners.

Wells Fargo had already made payment against some of the LCs and any ad interim injunction would have prevented Wells Fargo from claiming reimbursement of the amounts paid against the LCs from the issuing bank.

The order passed by the Bombay High Court is significant as it is perhaps the first decision by an Indian High Court on the issue of Force Majeure and frustration / supervening impossibility arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please find hereinbelow some of the media links:

Lockdown cannot come to aid of 5 steel importers says Bombay HC

Covid-19: Several Steel Importers Denied Force Majeure Protection By Bombay High Court

Lockdown cannot rescue steel importer from contractual obligations to make payment, distribution of steel an essential service

Bombay HC Refuses 'Force Majeure' Exemption To Steel Importers; Says Steel Declared As 'Essential Service' During Lockdown [Read Order]


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