Powers of an arbitrator: It is a general and widespread thinking that an arbitrator possesses no powers when it comes to giving orders and has to involve court in order to make its decision enforceable, even if the arbitration is ongoing, but this stigma is false because the arbitration and conciliation act, 1996 or from now only the arbitration and conciliation act, bestows arbitrator with the power of contempt and an arbitrator is free to give orders without any interference of court.
The arbitration and conciliation act provides some powers to the arbitrator equal to the power of the court, like - "the power to grant interim relief under section 17". However, the arbitration and conciliation act bestows arbitrator with an adjudicating authority and therefore the arbitrator has to act judicially. On the same note the arbitration and conciliation act says that "under section 17 the arbitrator is not bound by the principles of CPC, 1908 and Indian evidence act, 1872." However because the arbitral tribunal is not a court, it does not have the authority to punish the culprits for its contempt, neither under the constitution of India not under the contempt of courts act, 1971.
Section 27(5) of arbitration and conciliation act, 1996 provides the arbitral tribunal to punish for its contempt, of which the courts failed to take notice. section 27(5) of arbitration and conciliation act says that- "persons failing to attend in accordance with such process or making any other fault or refusing to give their evidence or guilty of any contempt to the arbitral tribunal during the conduct of arbitral proceedings, shall be subject to the like advantages, penalties and punishments by the order of the court on the representation of the arbitral tribunal as they would incur for the like offences in suits tried before the court."