Courts Update Supreme Court issues notice on Centre’s plea against appointment...

Supreme Court issues notice on Centre’s plea against appointment of Arbitrator by Calcutta High Court

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New Delhi Sept 8(ILNS): The Supreme Court today issued notice on a plea filed by State of West Bengal challenging the appointment of independent Sole arbitrator.

A Three Judge Bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant, and Justice A.S.Bopanna in a plea filed by State of West Bengal challenging the appointment of independent Sole arbitrator Justice Ranjit Kumar Beg(Retd) issued notice to Tarun Kanti Das, a contractor. 

ASG Balbir Singh, appearing for the State, asked the bench for a stay order, but the court did not make any remarks on the contention and passed an order to list this matter along with other similar matters. 

The High court of Calcutta appointed Justice Ranjit Kumar Beg, a former judge of the Calcutta High court as

upon the application of Tarun Kanti Das filed under section 11(6) of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 for resolving the disputes that arose with Railways.  Admitting such application of Tarun Kanti Das, contractor, the High Court appointed a sole independent arbitrator to adjudicate differences and disputes among Tarun Kanti Das and Railways in relation to the contract.

It came to the knowledge before Calcutta High Court that there is no dispute pertaining to facts of the case is concerned, the existence of arbitration clause in the contract. 

The High court took note of the fact of the Supreme court decision made in Perkins Eastman Architects DPC -vs SCC (India) Ltd. (AIR 2020 SC 59), wherein the similar issue came up before the apex court and the supreme court admitting the application of Perkins Eastman for appointment of an independent sole arbitrator, further appointed Justice(Retd) A.K.Sikri as sole arbitrator to decide all disputes among parties arising out of the agreement, subject to a mandatory declaration made under amended 12 of the Act.

Tarun Kanti Das, contractor served notice under Section 21 of the Act of 1996 to the General Manager of the concerned Railways to appoint an arbitrator as per contract.  The time period for such an appointment expired but no such appointment was made. Subsequently, after the expiry of 30 days from the date of the Section 21 notice, the Railways served on contractor Tarun, waiver notice of the applicability of Section 12(5) read with Seventh Schedule of the 1996 Act. Moreover, no appointment was made on 4th March 2020, however, the Railways sent a panel of arbitrators to the petitioner for selecting two names out of the same. Since Tarun already rejected the Railways’ proposal for waiver of applicability of Section 12(5) of the 1996 Act, the petitioner naturally did not choose any of the names from the panel forwarded by the Railways./ILNS/KY/KR/SNG

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