Order Passed By The Arbitrator Allowing Meetings As Per Convenience Of Parties, Would Not Change The Seat Of Arbitration: Delhi High Court
[07 June 2022] The Delhi High Court has ruled that an order passed by the Arbitrator holding that the arbitral proceedings shall be conducted at any other place, would not change the seat of Arbitration as provided in the Arbitration Clause. The Single Bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao held that the Arbitrator cannot decide anything contrary to what has been decided by the parties. The Court observed that as per the Arbitration Clause embedded in the contract entered into between the parties, the place of arbitration was the place from where the contract was placed by the respondent or at the place of the respondent.
The Court noted that the respondent was based in Bokaro, Jharkhand and thus the concerned High Court, within whose jurisdiction Bokaro fell, was competent to entertain the petition under Section 11(6) of the A&C Act. The High Court ruled that the place of arbitration has to be decided as per the terms of the contract, which clearly provided that the seat of arbitration was to be the place from where the contract was issued.
The Court observed that as per the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Brahmani River Pellets Ltd. versus Kamachi Industries Ltd (2020), where the contract specifies the jurisdiction of the court, only such court would have the jurisdiction to deal with the matter and that non-use of words like “exclusive jurisdiction” in the Arbitration Clause is not decisive.
The Court ruled that the order passed by the Arbitral Tribunal providing that all the meetings of the Arbitral Tribunal shall be held at Delhi or at such other place as agreed by the parties, was passed for the convenience of the parties. The Court added that the place of arbitration had not been changed from Bokaro, Jharkhand and that the Arbitrator cannot decide anything contrary to what has been decided by the parties. Thus, the Court held that the petition filed by the petitioner was not maintainable before the Delhi High Court and, therefore, dismissed the petition.