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Municipal Corporation of Delhi Versus Paramjeet Singh Narula
Court / Forum :
Delhi High Court Citation : O.M.P. 138/2008; MANU/DE/0586/2020 Coram : Justice Prateek Jalan Subject : Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 Date of Decision : January 27, 2020
The petitioner had awarded works contract to the respondent for widening and improvement of road. As disputes arose between parties, therefore Hon’ble Delhi High Court appointed a sole arbitrator.
The arbitrator awarded six claims of the respondent amounting to Rs. 11,76,243/- (Eleven Lacs Seventy-Six Thousand Two Hundred Forty-Three) in addition to costs and interests. The petitioner challenged the said arbitral award under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”).
Whether the court can interfere with a factual finding in exercise of its limited jurisdiction u/s 34 of the Act?
The arbitrator had concluded that petitioner was not able to substantiate its contention that the drawings required under the contract between the parties were submitted to respondent/claimant within time. The arbitrator has awarded the impugned award based on these findings and evidence placed before him. In the present case, as the arbitrator had awarded the award after taking into consideration evidence placed before him, therefore, the objection to award is beyond the scope of jurisdiction of this court u/s 34 of the Act.
In a petition under section 34 of the Act, the court cannot reconsider the evidence placed before the arbitrator. The Hon’ble court while rendering its judgment relied upon the following cases.
Associate Builders vs. Delhi Development Authority
“A possible view by arbitrator on facts has to pass the muster as the arbitrator is the authority to decide the quantity and quality of evidence to be relied upon at the time of delivering the award. Thus, an award will not be invalid on the ground that it is based on little evidence or which does not measure to the quality of trained legal mind. If the approach of arbitrator is not arbitrary or capricious, then he is last word on facts.”
“A court does not sit in appeal over the award of an arbitral tribunal by reassessing or reappreciating the evidence. An award can be challenged only on grounds mentioned in section 34(2) of the Act. In absence of any ground mentioned in section 34(2) of the Act, it is not possible to re-examine the facts to find out whether a different decision can be arrived at.”
Therefore, the impugned award could not be set aside.