Report No. 76
4.5. Section 13(b) and two kinds of special cases.-
This clause contemplates two kinds of "special cases". The arbitrators may state a special case, on any question of law involved, or they may state the award (wholly or in part) in the form of a special case. In the former case, the arbitration does not come to an end but is merely suspended until the court pronounces its 'opinion'. This opinion forms part of the award, under section 14(3). In the latter case, i.e., where the 'award' is stated for the opinion of the court, the award is final.1
1. The distinction is maintained in section 21 of the English Act of 1950.
4.6. In view of the provision now made for interim award (section 27 of the Indian Act, and section 14 of the English Act of 1950), the distinction is somewhat blurred. If care is taken by the arbitrators (while making their award or otherwise recording their decision) to make it clear whether they ar.- (i) making an interim award, or (ii) making a final award, but stating a special case in respect of a question of law, or (iii) without intending to conclude the proceedings, stating a special case in the course of the reference, no practical difficulties would arise. It is only when the exact provision under which they are acting is not indicated, that some uncertainty may arise.
4.7. Section 13(b) and discretion of arbitrator.-
Under section 13(b), it is discretionary for the arbitrator to state a special case for the opinion of the court on any question of law involved, or to state the award in the form of a special case on such questions for the opinion of the court.