Tuesday, 19 December 2017

When a person will be disqualified to act as arbitrator?

Keeping in view the aforesaid parameters, we advert to the facts of this case. Various contingencies mentioned in the Seventh Schedule render a person ineligible to act as an arbitrator. Entry no. 1 is highlighted by the learned counsel for the petitioner which provides that where the arbitrator is an employee, consultant, advisor or has any other past or present business relationship with the party, would not act as an arbitrator. What was argued by the learned senior counsel for the petitioner was that the panel of arbitrators drawn by the respondent consists of those persons who are government employees or ex-government employees. However, that by itself may not make such persons ineligible as the panel indicates that these are the persons who have worked in the railways under the Central Government or Central Public Works Department or public sector undertakings. They cannot be treated as employee or consultant or advisor of the respondent - DMRC. If this contention of the petitioner is accepted, then no person who had earlier worked in any capacity with the Central Government or other autonomous or public sector undertakings, would be eligible to act as an arbitrator even when he is not even remotely connected with the party in question, like DMRC in this case. The amended provision puts an embargo on a person to act as an arbitrator, who is the employee of the party to the dispute. It also deprives a person to act as an arbitrator if he had been the consultant or the advisor or had any past or present business relationship with DMRC. No such case is made out by the petitioner.

(Before A.K. Sikri and R.K. Agrawal, JJ.)

M/s. Voestalpine Schienen GMBH v. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. .

Arbitration Petition (Civil) No. 50 of 2016
Decided on February 10, 2017
Citation: 2017 SCC OnLine SC 172,AIR 2017 SC 939,2017(6)MHLJ 1
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