Updated: Jul 9, 2021
The process of arbitration can start only if there exists a valid Arbitration Agreement between the parties prior to the emergence of the dispute. As per Section 7, such an agreement must be in writing. The contract regarding which the dispute exists, must either contain an arbitration clause or must refer to a separate document signed by the parties containing the arbitration agreement. The existence of an arbitration agreement can also be inferred by written correspondence such as letters, telex, or telegrams which provide a record of the agreement. An exchange of statement of claim and Defence in which the existence of an arbitration agreement is alleged by one party and not denied by other is also considered as a valid written arbitration agreement. An arbitration agreement is a written contract in which two or more parties agree to settle a dispute outside of court. The arbitration agreement is ordinarily a clause in a larger contract. The dispute may be about the performance of a specific contract, a claim of unfair or illegal treatment in the workplace, a faulty product, among other various issues. People are free to agree to use arbitration concerning anything that they could otherwise resolve through legal proceedings.
Any party to the dispute can start the process of appointing an arbitrator and if the other party does not cooperate, the party can approach the office of Chief Justice for the appointment of an arbitrator. There are only two grounds upon which a party can challenge the appointment of an arbitrator – reasonable doubt in the impartiality of the arbitrator and the lack of proper qualification of the arbitrator as required by the arbitration agreement. A sole arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators so appointed constitute the Arbitration Tribunal.
Except for some interim measures, there is very little scope for judicial intervention in the arbitration process. The arbitration tribunal has jurisdiction over its own jurisdiction. Thus, if a party wants to challenge the jurisdiction of the arbitration tribunal, it can do so only before the tribunal itself. If the tribunal rejects the request, there is little the party can do except to approach a court after the tribunal makes an award. Section 34 provides certain grounds upon which a party can appeal to the principal civil court of original jurisdiction for setting aside the award.
The period for filing an appeal for setting aside an award is over, or if such an appeal is rejected, the award is binding on the parties and is considered as a decree of the court.