In this newsletter we analyse a recent development where in The High Court of Delhi has clarified that Section 14 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 cannot be invoked to raise a challenge to appointment of an arbitrator on the grounds of bias.
The decision strengthens the primacy of the arbitral tribunal to decide the questions on its own jurisdiction and impartiality, as enshrined in the UNCITRAL Model Law. The judgment also reiterates the limited scope of judicial interference under the Act, particularly for curial challenges at an intermediate stage, justifying the legislative intent of the Parliament behind envisioning separate procedures for de jure and de facto challenges to an arbitrator’s mandate.
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