Report No. 76
8.22. Section 31(4) and meaning of "in any reference".-
The expression "in any reference" in section 31(4) is significant. Both sections 31 and 34 were enacted "to avoid conflict and scramble";1 but the nature of the conflict and scramble intended to be avoided is different in the two sections. Section 34 avoids conflict between the private tribunal and the public tribunal. By the grant of stay under section 34, conflict is avoided. The conflict avoided by section 31 is, on the other hand, the conflict between different courts in respect of arbitration proceedings, held pursuant to the reference. Only one court will control such proceedings, and that is why it is provided that the court in which the first application is made "in the reference", shall have control over the subject-matter.
1. Harbans Singh v. Union of India, AIR 1961 Cal 659 (661), para. 4.