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Report No. 76

8.13. Section 30A (propose.- Arbitrator not to be compelled to disclose the reasons for the award.-

At this stage, we would like to deal with the question how far an arbitrator can be compelled to give evidence. While there is, in general, no legal bar to summoning an arbitrator as a witness,1 it is also a dictum laid down by high authority that evidence admitted as relevant on a charge of dishonesty or partiality is not to be used for a different purpose, namely, to scrutinise the decision of the arbitrator on matters which are within his jurisdiction and on which his decision is final.2

1. Amir Begum v. Badruddin, ILR 36 All 336 (PC).

2. Buccluch v. Metropolitan Board, (1972) Law Reports 5 House of Lords 418.

8.14. We find that the matter has been discussed in a recent judgment of the Supreme Court,1 were it has been pointed out that on broad principle and public policy, it is highly obnoxious to summon an arbitrator to give evidence in vindication of his award. The following observations made in the judgment are pertinent-

"If arbitrators are summoned mindlessly whenever applications for setting aside the award are inquired into, there will be few to undertake the job. The same principle holds good even if the prayer is for modification or for remission of the award. The short point is that the Court must realise that its process should be used sparingly and after careful deliberation, if the arbitrator should be brought into the witness box, in no case can he be summoned merely to show how he arrived at the conclusions he did.2

In the present case, we have been told that the arbitrator had gone wrong in his calculation and this had to be extracted from his mouth by being examined or cross-examined. We do not think that every Munsiff and every judge, every Commissioner and every arbitrator has to undergo a cross-examination before his judgment or award can be upheld by the appellate Court. How vicious such an approach would be is apparent on the slightest reflection."

The principle emphasised by the Supreme Court is that an arbitrator cannot be compelled to disclose the reasons of his award.

1. Union of India v. Orient Engineering and Commercial Co. Ltd., (1978) 2 Supreme Court Journal 83 (Issue dated 15th July, 1978).

2. Emphasis added.



Arbitration Act, 1940 Back




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