Report No. 176
17. Amendment of section 24
In section 24 of the principal Act, for sub-section (1), the following sub-sections shall be substituted, namely:-
"(1) Subject to such rules as may be made by the High Court in this behalf, the arbitral tribunal shall decide whether to hold oral hearings for presentation of evidence or for oral arguments or whether the proceedings shall be conducted on the basis of documents and other materials or to receive affidavit in lieu of oral evidence subject to the witness being questioned orally:
Provided that the arbitral tribunal may, at any appropriate stage of the proceedings, hold oral hearings for the purpose of presentation of oral evidence.
(1A) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1), the arbitral tribunal shall, pass orders regarding various aspects of the procedure before it.
(1B) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1A), the power of the arbitral tribunal to pass orders shall include-
(a) the fixing of the time schedule for the parties to adduce oral evidence, if any;
(b) the fixing of the time schedule for oral arguments;
(c) the manner in which oral evidence is to be recorded;
(d) the power to decide whether the proceedings shall be conducted only on the basis of documents and other materials or the other manner in which the proceedings may be conducted.
(1C) The procedure determined under sub-section (1A) and the time schedule fixed under sub-section (1B) by the arbitral tribunal, shall be binding on the parties.".