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M/s. Orintal Veneer Products Ltd., Mumbai v/s Union of India, Represented by its General Manager, Integral Coach Factory, Chennai & Others

    O.P. Nos. 367, 370, 371 & 373 of 2021 & A. Nos. 1867, 1878, 1879 & 1880 of 2021
    Decided On, 17 June 2021
    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
    For the Petitioner: K. Ashok Kumar, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1 & R2, T. Arunan Assisted by R. Nandini, R3, A. Thiagarajan, Advocates.

Judgment Text
(Prayer: Petition filed under section 14 read with Section 15 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 read with Rule 3[iii] of the Madras High Court [Arbitration] Rules, 2020 to terminate the mandate of the learned sole arbitrator Mr.K.Palanisamy, District Judge, [Retd.], appointed by this Court in O.P.No.125 of 2019 as the sole arbitrator in the arbitral proceedings and to appoint a sole arbitrator to preside and adjudicate the dispute in O.P.No.125 of 2019.)

1. These Original Petitions have been filed to terminate the mandate of the present arbitrator and to appoint a sole arbitrator to adjudicate the dispute in O.P.No.125 of 2019.

2. These petitions have been filed mainly on the ground that the arbitrator demanded fees contrary to the agreement. Though the allegations have been made against the arbitrator as to the nature of bias, a perusal of the materials, this Court finds that such allegations are baseless. Infact, the entire proceedings are over before the arbitrator and of course, the arbitrator has issued a letter indicating that the applicant has to be black listed.

3. It is submitted by the learned counsel appearing for the arbitrator that such a letter has been issued without any intention and in the spur of the moment, since the applicant has purposely dragged on the proceedings from the inception. At any event, it is the contention of the learned counsel that the conduct of the petitioner itself clearly indicate that from the very inception they are not cooperating with the arbitrator and they have changed five advocates and after oral arguments, when award is about to be passed by the arbitrator, the present petitions have been filed. Hence, prayed for dismissal of these petitions.

4. This Court, prima facie, is of the view that the allegations made against the arbitrator is baseless. However, taking note of the fact that continuance of the proceedings by the same arbitrator will lead to a situation that the proceedings are not conducted fairly and to avoid such a situation, this Court is of the view that some other arbitrator may be appointed to pronounce the Order, provided the applicant shall bear all the expenses and fees of the newly appointed arbitrator.

5. The learned counsel for the applicant has readily agreed to bear the entire expenses payable to newly appointed arbitrator.

6. In such view of the matter, as the entire proceedings has already been over and only award has to be pronounced, this Court is of the view that a competent civil lawyer may be appointed to adjudicate the matter. Both side counsels have no objection for the same. As all other materials are already on record, the parties have to make their oral submission alone and no other materials shall be allowed to be filed.

7. Accordingly, it is ordered as follows:

i] that Mr.K.V.Babu, Advocate, F-101, First Floor, Subiksha Trinity, 14/9, 4th Street, Bakthavatsalam Nagar, Adyar, Chennai – 600 020, Mobile No.9840075917 is appointed as a Sole Arbitrator to enter upon reference and as evidence is already on record, after giving opportunity for the parties to submit their oral submission, dispose of the matter.

ii] It is made clear that the applicant will be given two days for making their oral submissions. Similarly, the respondents shall make their oral submissions within two days and after hearing the oral arguments, the arbitrator shall pass an award within a period of two weeks. The parties are also at liberty to submit their written submissions.

iii] That the fees of the learned Arbitrator shall be Rs.1,50,000/- and the same shall be borne by the applicant. The above payment shall be made within a period of 10 [ten] days from today.

iv] On receipt of the above payment, the arbitrator shall fix the hearing date as indicated above. iv] Both sides submitted that they are ready to argue through virtual hearing. It is for the arbitrator to decide the same.

v] The learned arbitrator is requested to return the papers to the newly appointed arbitrator.

vi] It is made clear that since the entire proceedings has been completed by the previously appointed arbitrator, fees paid to him need not be returned by him.
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r /> vii] Taking note of the conduct of the applicant, changing the counsel frequently from the very inception and the delay occurred in this matter from the year 2019, if the applicant has not submitted oral submissions within the time period fixed by this Court, they will lose their right to make any further submissions in this regard. 8. These Original Petitions are ordered accordingly. No costs. Consequently, connected applications are closed.