Scope of powers of the Court regarding enquiry under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act, 1996
The scope and powers of the court regarding the enquiry aren't absolute as per section 11. The word, “administer” essentially connotes any act done “to manage or to conduct”. Therefore, body power of the court could also be an influence typically exercised for guiding, managing, conducting or superintending the execution of any proceeding. it's among the character of an executive or a ministerial action.
As against this, a ‘judicial’ exercise is an exercise that involves judgment or discretion. Therefore, every and each power exercised by the courts below Section 11(6) of the Act would need the appliance of a prudent judicial mind and therefore the exercise of honest judgment by the courts.
Supreme Court while deliberating on the powers of court extensively mentioned the law ordered down among the recent judgment in Vidya Drolia v. Durga trading Corporation whereby it had been held that “under Section eleven of Act Court is not sceptred to figure out whether or not an arbitration agreement is alive or not. among the aforesaid judgment it had been held that for the Section eleven court to form a decision on any matter, the existence of an arbitration agreement is obligatory. whether or not associate arbitration agreement exists, perhaps a question to be decided by the arbitrational tribunal.”
The court at Section eleven stage cannot enter into a mini-trial or elaborate review of the facts and law which could usurp the jurisdiction of the arbitrational judicature.
As per Section eleven court would raise the matter once contentions regarding non-arbitrability are plainly debatable, or once facts are contested. Civil courts cannot, at this stage, enter into a mini-trial or elaborate review of the facts and law that may usurp the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. elaborated arguments on whether or not an agreement that contains a clause has or has not been novated cannot probably be decided among the exercise of a restricted clear review on whether or not an arbitration agreement exists between the parties. an interesting judgment was glided by the Supreme Court within the matter of SANJIV PRAKASH V SEEMA KUKREJA AND ORS.
In this case, the appeal arose out of the dismissal of a petition below Section eleven of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 filed before the supreme court of Delhi.
In Conclusion, the enquiry below Section eleven is restricted to the existence of an arbitration agreement and admission of the same by the parties, and nothing more even wherever the clause is conditional.
 (2021) 2 SCC 1
 [CIVIL appeal NO. 975-976 OF 2021].
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