Petition under Article 226 or 227 challenging interlocutory order passed in arbitration proceedings not to be entertained

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of B.R. Gavai and M.S. Karnik, JJ. dismissed a petition filed against the order of the Arbitrator whereby petitioner’s application challenging the arbitration proceedings was rejected.

In view of the agreement between the parties, arbitration proceedings were commenced with one R.S. Bhandurge as the sole arbitrator. However, after a period of one year, he discontinued and the present arbitrator came to be appointed as the sole arbitrator by the respondent. The petitioner filed an application that continuation of arbitration proceedings by the present arbitrator was not permissible in law. This application was rejected by the sole arbitrator. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner preferred the instant petition.

The High Court perused the record and found that contentions raised on behalf of the petitioner were without substance. Reference was made to Supreme Court decision in SBP and Co. v. Patel Engineering Ltd., (2005) 8 SCC 618 wherein the Apex Court had held that once the arbitration proceedings have commenced, the parties will have to wait until the award is pronounced, unless a right of appeal is available at an earlier stage under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. It was observed that the High Court while exercising power under Article 226 or 227 of the Constitution, cannot entertain any petition challenging an interlocutory order passed in arbitration proceedings. In light of the above, the petition was dismissed. [Suchitra Chavan v. Axis Bank Asset Sales Centre,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 2854, dated 10-09-2018]

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