Government of Haryana v. G.F. Toll Road Pvt. Ltd.
Facts of the Case
The parties entered into a construction, operation, and maintenance contract for Gurgaon Faridabad Road and Baalabgarh Sohna Road. The contract consisted of an arbitration clause which stated that in case a dispute arises, three arbitrators will form the Arbitral Tribunal. Each party shall select one Arbitrator and the third Arbitrator shall be appointed as per the rules of the Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA).
A dispute arose between the two parties and the respondent nominated an Engineer-in-chief, Mr. Surjeet Singh and the State also nominated an Engineer-in-chief, Mr. M. K. Aggrawal as their nominee. ICA raised an objection against the latter, Mr. M. K. Aggrawal because he was an ex-employee of the State and hence there are justifiable grounds with respect to impartiality. The ICA then appointed an Arbitrator on behalf of the State. The State filed a case under Section 15 o the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 claiming that the Arbitral Tribunal is illegal.
Issues of the Case
- Is the State's petition maintainable?
- Is the Arbitral Tribunal illegal?
The judgment of the District Court
The District Court of Chandigarh stated that the Petition is not maintainable since the Arbitral Tribunal has already been formed. The court stated that the objection must be raised under Section 16 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in front of the Tribunal itself. Aggrieved by the order, the State filed a Civil Revision Appeal with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Objection raised to the Arbitral Tribunal
The High Court upheld the District Court's judgment and stated that the Appeal is not maintainable. The Court stated that the said objection must be raised under Section 16 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 in front of the Arbitral Tribunal. The State raised the objection to the Arbitral Tribunal. The State was dismissed by an Order by the Arbitral Tribunal on 12/05/2018. Aggrieved by the order, the State filed an Appeal before the Supreme Court.
The judgment of the Supreme Court
The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India stated that the Act does not disqualify a former employee from being the Arbitrator, unless and until there are justifiable grounds of partiality. The fact that Mr. M. K. Aggrawal retired 10 years ago was taken into consideration by the Supreme Court. It stated that the aforementioned makes the ground of bias untenable. It was hence held that Mr. M. K. Aggrawal is qualified for the role of an Arbitrator.
This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.