An arbitral tribunal is a panel of one or more adjudicators whose function is to sit and resolve disputes by way of arbitration. The tribunal may consist of a sole arbitrator there may be two or more arbitrators, which includes a presiding arbitrator.
According to section 10 of the Arbitration and Conciliation act, 1996, the parties are free to choose the number of arbitrators to be appointed for the proceedings. If they fail to do so, a sole arbitrator is to be appointed. Section 11 talks about the appointment of arbitrators. The parties are free to agree upon a procedure for the appointment of the arbitrators. In case of three arbitrators, each party has to appoint one arbitrator and they have to appoint a third arbitrator who shall be the presiding arbitrator. In case either the parties or the two arbitrators fail to appoint an arbitrator within 30 days, then upon the request of the parties, the Supreme Court or the High Court or any person or institution designated by the courts shall appoint one. The designation of a person or institution by the Supreme Court or the High Court may be considered as a delegation of judicial powers.
QUALIFICATIONS OF AN ARBITRATOR
- Confidence of the parties
- Technical and legal qualification
- Non conflict of interest
- Adjudication of the arbitral agreement
POWERS OF AN ARBITRATOR
- The arbitrator has a power to administer an oath to the parties. It is necessary for him to act as a quasi-judicial authority
- Power to take interim measures
- According to section 25, an arbitrator has an power to proceed to ex-parte
- Power to appoint an expert
- Power to make awards
DUTIES OF AN ARBITRATOR
- To be independent and impartial
- To fix a time and place for arbitration, which is convenient to the parties
- Duty to disclose
- Duty to efficiently resolve the dispute
- Duty to determine the rules for the procedure
BASIS FOR CHALLENGING THE APPOINTMENT OF AN ARBITRATOR
Section 12(1) compels a prospective arbitrator to provide a written disclosure of any circumstances which may question his autonomy or fair-mindedness.
Section 12(1) (a) states that the arbitrator shall disclose if he had any direct or indirect relationship with any one of the parties.
Section 12(1) (b) points out any circumstances that would affect an arbitrator’s capacity to devote enough time to finish the arbitration within 12 months. The disclosure should be made under the guidelines of the Sixth schedule.