Cal HC | [S.11(6) Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996] Reiterating independence and impartiality of the Arbitrator, Court appoints former justice of the present court to preside over as the sole arbitrator

Calcutta High Court: Ashis Kumar Chakraborty, J., while allowing the present petition under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 appointed former judge of the present High Court, Sahidullah Munshi as the sole arbitrator in the present matter.

In the present application under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, petitioner made a prayer for appointment of a sole Arbitrator to adjudicate the disputes arisen between the parties relating to the agreement dated 16-05-2013 (hereinafter referred as “the said contract”) entered into between the parties herein. By the said contract the respondent inducted the petitioner as the contractor to carry out development work of surrounding areas of Platinum Jubilee Building, terms and conditions of which were specified in the contract. Clause 8 of the said contract contemplated that all disputes arising between the parties shall be referred to the sole arbitrator appointed by the Director, Indian Statistical Institute.

It is the case of the petitioner that since the respondent wrongfully reclaimed its various claims, disputes have arisen which are required to be adjudicated through arbitration. Accordingly, by a dated 9-06-2017, the petitioner invoked the arbitration agreement and requested the respondent to refer the dispute to arbitration by considering provisions contained in Section 12(5), read with fifth and seventh schedule to the Act of 1996. The respondent, however, by their letter dated 12-07-2017, sought to refer certain disputes which had arisen between the parties relating to another contract for construction of the said building. The petitioner by further letter dated 16-07-2018 addressed to the respondent for appointment of an Arbitrator to adjudicate the disputes between the parties relating to the contract with no response from the respondents. Thus, the petitioner has filed the present application praying for relief mentioned above.

Court observed, “In view of the incorporation of the provisions of sub section (5) of Section 12 and the fifth and seventh schedule to the Act of 1996 and the decisions of the Supreme Court in the case of Voestalpine Schienen Gmbh v. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited, (2017)4 SCC 665 and TRF Limited v. Energo Engineering, (2017)8 SCC 377, the Director of the respondent cannot appoint an Arbitrator.” Further, allowing the present petition, Court-appointed former judge, Mr Sahidullah Munshi as the sole arbitrator in the present matter.[Paul Builders Pvt. Ltd. v. Indian Statistical Institute, 2021 SCC OnLine Cal 21, decided on 11-01-2021]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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