1. A pithy but decisive question, arising within the confines the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act' for short), has been impelled for decision in this Civil Revision Petition.2. The question, is: Should the Civil Court, before which a suit is brought in a matter which is subject to an Arbitration agreement, refer the parties to it to Arbitration under the provisions of Section 8 of the Act, when the opposite side brings to its notice - through its first statement on the substance of the dispute - that there exists such a valid agreement, but without specifically seeking or applying for such reference.3. The relevance of this question is in the fact that the reading of Section 8 renders it apparent that if a party to the Arbitration agreement or person claiming through him or under him so applies, the Court must refer the parties to Arbitration, unless it finds, prima facie, that no valid Arbitration agreement exists.4. The aspect in controversy is therefore, whether the party seeking reference must make a specific request for the same, either through an application or in their first statement on the substance of the dispute, or whether it would be sufficient that they say in their first statement that there exists a valid Arbitration agreement and therefore, that the Court obtains no jurisdiction to try the suit.5. This issue has arisen in this case because, the petitioners, who are the defendants in O.S.No.162/2015 filed by the respondent - M/s.Palathara Constructions, assails the order of the Sub Court, Ernakulam, which has refused to refer the parties to Arbitration solely on the ground that no such specific request had been made by them at the appropriate time. The petitioners vehemently submit that since they had, in their written statement - which is the first statement filed by them touching upon the substance of the dispute between the parties - that there exists an Arbitration agreement and therefore, that the suit is not maintainable, the Trial Court ought to have construed this as an application for reference under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act; and consequently ought to have referred the dispute to arbitration under its terms.6. Before I move forward with respect to the assessment of the syllogistic contentions, I deem it appropriate that the relevant Section be looked into in detail, for which purpose, the same is extracted as under:“8. power to refer parties to arbitration where there is an arbitration agreement.-  A judicial authority, before which an action is brought in a matter which is the subject of an arbitration agreement shall, if a party to the arbitration agreement or any person claiming through or under him, so applies not later than the date of submitting his first statement on the substance of the dispute, then, notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of the Supreme court or any court, refer the parties to arbitration unless it finds that prima facie no valid arbitration agreement exists.(2) the application referred to in sub-section(1) shall not be entertained unless it is accompanied by the original arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy thereof:[Provided that where the original arbitration agreement or a certified copy thereof is not available with the party applying for reference to arbitration under sub-section (1), and the said agreement or certified copy is retained by the other party to that agreement, then, the party so applying shall file such application along with a copy of the arbitration agreement and a petition praying the Court to call upon the other party to produce the original arbitration agreement or its duly certified copy before that court.](3) Notwithstanding that an application has been made under subsection( 1) and that the issue is pending before the judicial authority, an arbitration may be commenced or continued and an arbitral award made.”7. Sri.Jithin Saji Issac, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners, vehemently submits that the purpose of Section 8 of the Act - which has undergone certain amendments in the recent past - is that the Court must consider reference of the parties to Arbitration the moment when it is brought to its notice that a valid Arbitration agreement exists with respect to the subject matter of the disputes between them. He relies on the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in P.Anand Gajapathi Raju and Others v. P.V.G.Raju (Dead) and others [2000 (4) SCC 539]; Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. and another v. Verma Transport Co. [2006 (7) SCC 275]; Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc. v. SBI Home Finance and others [2011 (5) SCC 532]; Greaves Cotton Limited v. United Machinery and Appliances [2017 (2) SCC 268] and Hema Khattar and Another v. Shiv Khera [2017 (7) SCC 716] in support of his contention. He also relies on the judgments of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in Sharad P Jagtiani v. M/s.Edelweiss Securities Limited [2014 SCC online Del 949], Parasramka Holdings Pvt. Ltd. v. Ambience Private Ltd and another [2018 SCC online Del 6573]; SSIPL Lifestyle Private Limited v. Vama Apparels (India) Private Limited and Another [2020 SCC online Del 472], stating that these judgments have clearly affirmed his contention above.8. Interestingly, Sri.Philip Mathew, learned counsel also relies on the afore cited judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court along with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Pinkcity Midway Petroleume [2003 (6) SCC 503] and Ayyasamy A. v. A.Paramasivam and Others [2016 (10) SCC 386], to contend to the contrary, namely, that unless the party seeking the reference to arbitration makes a specific application, the Trial Court is not obligated to do so under Section 8(1) of the Act. Sri.Philip Mathew submits that the Scheme of the Act, when viewed from the prism of Sections 45 and 54 thereof, makes it obligatory for any party seeking any relief thereunder to make specific applications and that this is applicable even to a case under Section 8(1) of it. After asserting so, Sri.Philip Mathew submits that, in the written statement filed by the petitioners herein, they never sought for a reference to Arbitration, but merely have stated that the suit is not maintainable and ought to be dismissed in limine.9. After so contending, Sri.Philip Mathew urged a collateral argument that, even if the Arbitration agreement is found to be valid - which he says he does not concede in any manner - it is not incumbent upon a Court in every case to make such reference and he relies on the judgment of the Hon'ble Court in T.M.L.Financial Services Ltd. v. Vinod Kumar [2010(1) KLT 209] and of this Court in Shriram Transport Finance Co.Ltd. [2012 (1) KLT 262].10. Sri.Philip Mathew, concluded his submissions in support of the impugned order by saying that the Trial Court has acted irreproachably in not referring the parties to Arbitration, since no such application had been made by the petitioners herein, nor have they established that the Arbitration agreement produced by them are valid or applicable to the disputes in question.11. The submissions of the learned counsel for the parties having been so recorded, it is perspicuous that, the point in controversy primarily relevant for my consideration at this stage, is whether the parties seeking reference to Arbitration ought to make a specific application or prayer for the same under the ambit of Section 8(1) of the Act.12. The words employed in Section 8(1) of the Act is certainly that a judicial Authority, before which an action is brought in a matter which is a subject matter of an agreement, shall, if a party to the Arbitration agreement or persons claiming through or under him so applies, refer the parties to Arbitration. This provision has been interpreted by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in several judgments, which have been relied upon by the parties as afore; and the first among them is P.Anand Gajapathi Raju (supra) wherein, the views of the Hon'ble Court on this are indited in paragraphs 5 and 8 thereof, which are extracted as under, to enable a full reading:“5. The conditions which are required to be satisfied under sub-s(1) and (2) of S.8 before the court can exercise its powers are: (1) there is an arbitration agreement;(2) a party to the agreement brings an action in the court against the other party;(3) subject matter of the action is the same as the subject matter of the arbitration agreement;(4) the other party moves the court for referring the parties to arbitration before it submits his first statement on the substance of the dispute. This last provision creates a right in the person bringing the action to have the dispute adjudicated by the court, once the other party has submitted his first arbitration applies to the court after submission of his statement and the party who has brought the action does not object, as is the case before us, there is no bar on the court referring the parties to arbitration.8. In the matter before us, the arbitration agreement covers all the disputes between the parties in the proceedings before us and even more than that. As already noted, the arbitration agreement satisfies the requirements of S.7 of the new Act. The language of S.8 is peremptory. It is, therefore, obligatory for the Court to refer the parties to arbitration in terms of their arbitration agreement. Nothing remains to be decided in the original action or the appeal arising proceedings conclude and the award becomes final in terms of the provisions of the new Act. All the rights, oboligations and remedies of the parties would now be governed by the new Act including the right to challenge the award. The court to which the party shall have recourse to challenge the award would be the court as defined in clause(e) of S 2 of the new Act and not the court to which an application under S.8 of the new Act is made. An application before a court under S.8 merely brings to the court's notice that the subject matter of the action before it is the subject matter of an arbitration agreement. This would not be such an application as contemplated under S.42 of the Act as the court trying the action may or may not have had jurisdiction to try the suit to start with or be the competent court within the meaning of S.2(e) of the new Act.”13. Subsequently, in the year 2006, the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (supra) considered the impact of Section 8(1) of the Act in great detail holding that the rigour of the said Section is to the effect that if a party seeking reference does not seek it at the first instance, namely at the time when he makes his first statement on the substance of the dispute, he must be deemed to have waived that right and to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court.14. Thereafter, the Hon'ble Court considered whether the objections raised by a party in reply to an injunction petition would also make it incumbent on the Trial Court to refer the parties to Arbitration and this was answered in the following manner in paragraphs 33 and 34 thereof.“Filing of a reply to the injunction application could also not have been a ground to refuse to entertain the plea taken by the appellants that the suit should be referred to the Arbitral Tribunal particularly when in its reply to the injunction application, the appellant categorically stated“. That the present application under O.39 R.1 and 2 read with S.151 CPC is liable too be dismissed on the short ground that the plaintiff has himself admitted the existence of the arbitration caluse and, therefore, the present application under O.39R.1 and 2 read with S.151 CPC is not maintainable and consequently the order of this Hon'ble Court is liable to be vacated.” Thus, they did not submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the court. They did not waive their right. They in effect and substance questioned the jurisdiction of the court in proceeding with the matter. In fact, in its application filed under S.8 of the 1996 Act, the appellant raised a contention that the suit was liable to be dismissed and the order of injunction vacated in view of the arbitration clause”15. It then proceeded to say, in the same judgment, with respect to the aspect of waiver of right to invoke the Arbitration Clause, as under in paragraph No.36 thereof:“36. The expression “first statement on the substance of the dispute” contained in S.8(1) of the 1996 Act must be constradistinguished with the expression 'written statement'. It employs submission of the party to the jurisdiction of the judicial authority. What is, therefore, needed is a finding on the part of the judicial authority that the party has waived its right to invoke the arbitration clause. If an application is filed before actually filing the first statement on the substance of the dispute, in our opinion, the party cannot be said to have waived its right or acquiesced itself to the jurisdiction of the Court. What is, therefore, material is as to whether the petitioner has filed his first statement on the substance of the dispute or not, if not, his application under S.8 of the 1996 Act, may not be held wholly unmaintainable.”16. The afore extracted opinion of the Hon'ble Supreme Court makes it indubitable that what is really material and vital is whether the persons seeking a reference to Arbitration had sought for it at the first instance and that if not, he should be deemed to have waived his right to do so.17. Moving on, in Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc. (supra) the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the year 2011, considered the same issue and arrived at the infra extracted opinion, in paragraph No.17 of the said judgment:“17. Not only filing of the written statement in a suit, but filing of any statement, application, affidavit filed by a defendant prior to the filing of the written statement will be construed as 'submission of a statement on the substance of the dispute', if by filing such statement/application/affidavit, the defendant shows his intention to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court and waive his right to seek reference to arbitration. But filing of a reply by a defendant a application for temporary injunction/attachment before judgment/appointment of Receiver, cannot be considered as submission of a statement on the substance of the dispute, as that is done to avoid an interim order being made against him. In Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd V. Verma Transport Company, 2006 KHC 1091: 2006 (7) SCC 275: JT 2006(7) SC 404: AIR 2006 SC 2800,this Court held that the expression 'first statement on the substance of the dispute' contained in S.8(1) of the Act is different from the expression 'Written Statement', and refers to a submission of the party making the application under S.8 of the Act, to the jurisdiction of the judicial authority, and what should be decided by the Court is whether the party seeking reference to arbitration has waived his right to invoke the arbitration clause. This Court then proceeded to consider whether contesting an application for temporary injunction by filing a counter, would amount to subjecting oneself to the jurisdiction of the Court. This court observed:'By opposing the prayer for interim injunction, the restriction contained in subsection (1) of S.8 was not attracted. Disclosure of a defence for the purpose of posing a prayer for injunction would not necessarily mean that substance of the dispute has already been disclosed in the main proceeding. Supplemental and incidental proceeding are not part of the main proceeding. They are dealt with separately in the Code of civil Procedure itself. S.94 of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with supplemental proceedings. Incidental proceedings are those which arise out of the main proceeding. In view of the decision of this court in Food Corporation of India v. Yadav Engineer&Contractor, 1982(2) SCC 499,the distinction between the main proceeding and supplemental proceeding must be borne in mind...Waiver of a right on the part of a defendant to the lis must be gathered from the fact situation obtaining in each case. In the instant case, the Court had already passed an ad interim ex pare injunction. The Appellants were bound to respond to the notice issued by the court.”18. The afore observations of the Hon'ble Supreme Court also lend support of the position that what is relevant is to ascertain the intention of the party seeking reference to Arbitration and to assess if he, in spite of having a statutory option to seek such reference, nevertheless, submits himself to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court and waives his right to seek such.19. In 2016, the Hon'ble Supreme Court, in Greaves Cotton Limited (surpa), adverted to the observations in Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc.(supra), and held that merely because a person seeking reference to Arbitration moves an application seeking time to file his written statement, it would not amount to him making his first statement on the substance of the dispute, nor can it be, therefore, construed that he has waived his right to seek such a reference.20. A similar view as afore was recorded in Hema Khattar (supra) in the year 2017, where the Hon'ble Supreme Court held in paragraph No.26 of it, that the language of Section 8 of the Act is peremptory and that it is obligatory for the Court to refer the parties to Arbitration in terms of their agreement, after the party moves the Court for such reference.21. Interestingly, after noticing these and other judgments, the Hon'ble Delhi High Court in Sharad P. Jagtiani (supra); Tech Books International and Others v. Niti Zaxena and Another [2013 SCC online Del 4576], Parasramka Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (supra) and SSIPL Lifestyle Private Limited(supra) has taken a consistent view that even in the absence of a specific application or express request for such reference, the Trial Court is obligated under Section 8(1) of the Act to refer the parties to Arbitration once the party seeking it avers in his first statement that a valid Arbitration agreement exists and that consequently, the Trial Court obtains no jurisdiction to try the suit. Such averments by the defendants in these cases were found by the Hon'ble Delhi High Court to mean that they do not submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court and thus concluding that, in such event, the Trial Court is legally obligated to make the reference, the purpose of Section 8 of the Act being to aid Arbitration in cases where there is a valid Arbitration agreement.22. In the backdrop of the afore cited precedents and judgments, I am called upon to consider whether the specific averments in the written statement filed by the petitioners herein-which is conceded to be their first statement on the substance of the disputes - the Trial Court was obligated to refer the parties to Arbitration.23. For this purpose, I will certainly have to see the specific averments of the petitioners in the written statement, a copy of which has been made available across the Bar by Sri.Jithin Saji Issac, which are as under:“9. The allegations in para 5 of the plaint are false and hence denied. The defendants are not liable to pay any amount to the plaintiff. The allegation in para 5 of the plaint that the defendants have deliberately refused to pay the amounts due to the plaintiff is false and hence denied. The further allegation that the defendants are jointly and severally liable to pay the amounts due to the plaintiff is false and hence denied. The allegation in para a5 that the plaintiff has a right to recover the amounts from the defendants and their assets jointly and severally is false and hence denied. The above suit is not maintainable and has to be dismissed in limine. The conditions of the Master Purchase agreement for service entered into by the plaintiff with the defendants provides that all disputes, controversies or claims in relation to this Agreement whether contractual or tortuous shall be submitted to the International Chamber of commerce Arbitration centre, New Delhi by a sole arbitrator appointed under the International Chamber of Commerce, Arbitration Centre, New Delhi. The place of the arbitration shall be New Delhi,India.”(emphasis supplied)24. It is ineluctable from the precedents referred above that in cases where the party seeking reference applies not later than the date of submitting his first statement on the substance of the disputes, the Civil Court must consider reference to the parties to Arbitration, provided it finds prima facie that an Arbitration agreement exists.25. In the case at hand, though the Arbitration agreement was not originally produced along with the written statement, this Court in CRP 386/2018 allowed the petitioners to do so; and consequently, they placed it on record before the Trial Court.26. The respondent herein then took the plea that the said agreement was not a valid one and was not the same as has been referred to in the written statement of the petitioners; thus contending that, in any event of the matter, a reference under Section 8(1) of the Act is not possible in this case.27. The Trial Court, however, went through the agreement and prima facie, found it to be a valid one, but still refused to refer the parties to Arbitration holding that the petitioners herein had not sought a specific reference under the terms of Section 8(1) of the Act. In holding so, the Trial Court relied upon Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (supra) to conclude that the said judgment holds that in the absence of such a prayer being made by the petitioners, no reference can be made under the rigour of the said Section.28. The aspect that then begs the question is whether, in view of the judgments and legal provisions above, if the averments in the written statement of the petitioners can be construed as an application for reference under Section 8(1) of the Act.29. There can be now little doubt, from the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court adverted to earlier, that what is relevant and important is whether petitioners seeking the reference has waived their right to do so and have submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court, in spite of asserting that there is a valid Arbitration agreement between the parties.30. This is limpid from Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (supra), wherein, as is evident from the portions extracted afore, the Hon'ble Supreme Court took the view that the statement of the defendant therein, in their response to injunction application, that the suit is not maintainable because an Arbitration clause has been admitted by the other side, would construe to mean that they did not submit themselves to jurisdiction of the Civil Court and therefore, that they do not waive their right. The Hon'ble Supreme Court also held that the meaning attributable to the stand taken by the defendant in that case was that they have questioned the jurisdiction of the Court in proceeding with the matter and therefore, that the suit is not maintainable.31. In holding so, their Lordships went with the view in P.Anand Gajapathi Raju (supra), which unreservedly held that the language of Section 8 of the Act is peremptory and that it is obligatory on the Court to refer the parties to Arbitration in terms of their Arbitration agreement, when the existence of such is brought to the notice of the Court.32. There has been no departure from this view thereafter, either in Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc.(supra), or in Hema Khattar (supra); but on the contrary, this has been ingeminated with greater force in these judgments.33. This is evident because, in Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc.(supra), their Lordships have made it clear that unless the defendant shows his intention to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the Court and waive his right to seek reference to Arbitration, by not taking refuge under Section 8 of the Arbitration Act, the Trial Court will certainly have to consider reference of the parties to Arbitration, when the existence of a valid agreement is prima facie, found by it.34. In clearer restatement, in Hema Khattar (supra) the Hon'ble Supreme Court hammered in the unequivocal opinion that in cases where there is an Arbitration clause, it is obligatory for the Court to refer the parties to Arbitration and nothing remains to be decided in the original action after such an application is made, except to refer the dispute to an Arbitrator.35. Of course, the words “making such an application” in Hema Khattar (supra), has been vehemently pointed out by Sri.Philip Mathew, to say that a specific application is required. However, going by the tenor of the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court as seen above, it is irrefragable that the Trial Court can continue with the suit only if the defendant had not exercised his right to seek such a reference, by bringing it to the notice of the Court the existence of a valid Arbitration agreement at the time when the first statement is filed by him touching upon the substance of the disputes. Therefore, what is really relevant is that the defendant must inform the Trial Court, through his first statement, that it cannot hear the suit and must refer the parties to Arbitration, by bringing it to its notice the existence of a valid Arbitration agreement.36. In that view, it certainly is not necessary that a person seeking the reference should seek it expressly, but the moment he brings it to the notice of the Court, through his written statement, that he does not concede to the jurisdiction of the Court and that he seeks that the suit be dismissed because, there is a valid Arbitration agreement, the bounden duty of the Court under Section 8(1) of the Act comes immediately into play. There can be no two ways about this because, Section 8(1) of the Act makes it incumbent upon the Court to refer the parties to Arbitration, when it finds a valid Arbitration agreement to exist prima facie; and this duty becomes manifest the moment it is brought to its notice that the proceedings in the suit cannot be continued on account of the existence of such an agreement.37. Therefore, the submissions of Sri.Philip Mathew that it is not merely sufficient that a party seeking the reference must produce the Arbitration agreement and say that the suit is not maintainable, but also that he should then make a specific request for reference to an Arbitrator, in my firm view, would do violence to Section 8(1) of the Act because, as I have said above, it is the statutory duty of the Court to consider reference of the parties to Arbitration, when it finds that the defendant does not submit itself to its jurisdiction, by asserting that the disputes can be decided only under the terms of the Arbitration agreement, which he has produced.38. Apodictically, therefore, the word “so applies” in Section 8(1) of the Act cannot be used in a restrictive sense but must be given an expanded meaning, to mean that when the defendant brings it to the notice of the Court that the suit is not maintainable because of the existence of a valid Arbitration agreement, by producing the original or duly certified copy of the same, thereby to mean that the disputes can be decided only as per the said agreement, the obligation to consider reference of the parties under Section 8(1) of the Act immediately sets itself upon the Court.39. That being said, it is interesting that in the impugned order in this case, the learned Trial Judge has entered a finding that in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (supra) it is the view of the Hon'ble Supreme Court that unless there is a specific application to such effect, the parties cannot be referred to arbitration by the Civil Court under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act. I am afraid that even a very close look through this judgment does not disclose any such opinion, but certainly, the Hon'ble Court has said therein that the jurisdiction of the Civil Court will come to an end after an application under Section 8(1) of the Act is made for arbitration.40. However, this observation of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, juxtaposed by the findings in paragraphs 33 and 34 of the said judgment, can leave no ambiguity that once the defendant therein had questioned the jurisdiction of the Court in proceeding with the matter and had refused to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of the Court, thereby not waving their right to seek such a reference, the Trial Court was obligated to consider the reference under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act as per law.41. Though not directly relevant to the considerations herein before this Court, Sri.Philip Mathew also has a case that even in the event an application for reference is made by a party, it is not incumbent upon the Trial Court to grant it as an inflexible rule. He relies in support on the judgments in Radhakrishnan N. v. M/s.Maestro Engineers and Others [2010(1) SCC 72] and Ayyasamy a V. A.Paramasivam and others [2016(10) SCC 386] to assert that in cases where elaborate evidence is required; or where serious allegations of fraud, malpractices, and manipulations in accounts are projected: or where there are serious issues involved relating to criminal wrongdoings, the rigour under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act could not apply and that the Trial Court can continue to consider the case. He also relies on the judgments of this Court in Shriram Transport Finance Co.Ltd. (supra) in support of the same contention.42. As a general proposition, there may arise instances in which a Court may be dissuaded from referring the parties to arbitration, even when a valid arbitration agreement is found. However, these are mat
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ters which the Civil Court will have to consider depending upon the facts pleaded and will not be necessary for this Court to enter into its merits at this time. However, even when so, it is luculent that they operate as an exception to the normal rule, when justified cause or reasons are specifically shown against making the reference. I, therefore, leave it there.43. Similar is the corollary contention of Sri.Philip Mathew as to whether the petitioners herein are to be seen to have conceded to the jurisdiction of the Trial Court by submitting themselves to a mediation as suggested by it. I do not propose to answer this either because, Sri.Jithin Saji Issac, learned counsel for the petitioners, severely contests that any such mediation has taken place. Suffice to say, going by the afore binding precedents of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, any act by the party seeking reference, which expressly shows that they conceded to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court, will certainly have to be specifically taken note of by the said Court.44. As far as the points in controversy in this case are concerned, the observations and conclusions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the precedents adverted to above persuades me to the sure opinion that Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act applies as soon as the defendant or a party seeking reference brings it to the notice of the Court - through their first statement on the subject matter of substance of dispute - that there is a valid arbitration agreement between the parties and that they do not submit to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court. The language, terminology and phasing used may be different, but when the defendant sufficiently and abundantly makes it clear that the Court obtains no jurisdiction to consider the suit on account of the existence of a valid arbitration agreement and that they do not accede to its jurisdiction with respect to the disputes, the statutory obligation of the Trial Court, under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act, emanates and it then becomes imperatively enjoined to consider if the parties are to be referred to Arbitration, subject to all other legal criterion as are applicable, including those hinged on the contentions raised by Sri.Philip Mathew.45. When this Court so concludes, it becomes without need to expatiate further that the impugned order of the Trial Court loses leg to stand on, since it is edificed on the foundations of the incorrect impression that in Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd. (supra), the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that in the absence of a specific application for such purpose, a reference to Arbitration cannot be made under Section 8(1) of the Arbitration Act. This, I am afraid, cannot find my imprimatur for the reasons said above; and am, consequently, of the opinion that the Trial Court must reconsider reference under Section 8(1) of the Act, taking note of all contentions of the parties, including those which have been urged by Sri.Philip Mathew as recorded above.In the result, this CRP is allowed and the impugned order is set aside. Consequently, the matter is remitted to the Trial Court, for it to reconsider whether a reference under Section 8(1) of the Act is necessitated on account of the pleadings of the petitioner available in their written statement.