The Supreme Court recently called upon all High Courts to submit before it details with respect to the applications pending before the concerned High Court under Section 11(6) of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, seeking the appointment of an arbitrator
The direction was passed by a Bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna in view of the long delay by High Courts in disposing of Section 11(6) applications, thereby defeating the object and purpose of the Arbitration Act.
The court said – “If the applications under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration Act, 1996 are kept pending for a long period and even the appointment of arbitrators are not made at the earliest, it will defeat the object and purpose of the Arbitration Act,”
It, therefore, directed that details of such applications be submitted before the top court by all High Courts on or before by May 6.
The Supreme Court was dealing with a case in which an application under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration Act was filed in the year 2016, and it took four years for the Telangana High Court to decide the same and dismiss it.
The top court was informed that more applications under Section 11(6) were still pending adjudication before the High Court.
“Even otherwise under the Commercial Courts Act, the commercial disputes are required to be disposed of within a period of one year. Even under the Arbitration (Amendment) Act, 2015, the arbitrator is required to dispose of the arbitral proceedings within a period of one year. Therefore, if the applications under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration Act are not decided at the earliest and within a reasonable time, more particularly within one year from the date of filing, the object and purpose of the Arbitration Act shall be frustrated,” the Court observed.
The bench stated that before any direction is issued by Supreme Court to the High Courts, the High Courts will have to be heard.
“Before any direction is issued by this Court to the High Courts, we direct the Registry to call the statement/particulars with respect to the pending applications under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration Act from all the High Courts so as to reach this Court on or before 6th May, 2022. We direct the Registry of all the High Courts to send the statement to the Registry of this Court on or before 6th May, 2022,” Court directed.
The matter will be heard again on May 9