DMRCL dispute: Delhi HC appoints former CJI Ramana as sole arbitrator

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has appointed former Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana as the sole arbitrator to settle a dispute between Arvind Techno Globe and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRCL).

A bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh’s ruling came in response to concerns raised by petitioner Arvind Techno Globe over the independence of the candidates named by the DMRCL to serve as arbitrators.

“Justice N.V. Ramana, former Chief Justice of India is appointed as a sole arbitrator to adjudicate the disputes between the parties which have arisen under the Contract Agreement dated July 22, 2013,” the order stated.

Justice Singh further stated that the Delhi International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) (Administrative Cost and Arbitrators Fees) Regulations, 2018, must be followed for paying the arbitrator’s fees.

He ordered the parties be present before the arbitrator within 10 days.

The payment that DMRCL owes to Arvind Techno Globe for work completed under their 2013 contract gave rise to a disputes between the parties.

The petitioner claims that the project it was given by the DMRCL was finished in 2018, following a 27-month delay that it blamed on the DMRCL’s conduct.

Following the completion of the work, the petitioner made multiple claims totaling Rs 20,64,14,428. Nonetheless, it is claimed that DMRCL has refuted this assertion.

The parties initially sought to resolve their disputes through conciliation, but when that process did not end in a fair amount of time, they moved on to arbitration.

In addition, the petitioner claimed that the DMRCL had declined to appoint an independent arbitral tribunal. Because of this, the petitioner brought a claim under Section 11 (appointment of arbitrators) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, before the High Court.

The petitioner informed the court that the DMRCL has proposed five names in defiance of the ruling rendered by the Supreme Court in the case of Voestalpine Schienen GmbH vs. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.

The DMRCL recommended the names of individuals who either came from the Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) or the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL).

None of these candidates, according to the DMRCL, which is a joint venture between the Delhi and the Central governments, were connected to the DMRCL.

The seventh schedule to the Arbitration Act, which deals with the disqualification of people from being appointed as arbitrators due to probable bias, is therefore not applicable to these people, according to it.

After noting that there was no disagreement as to whether the issue was of an arbitral nature, the court eventually opted to refer the matter to a single arbitrator it selected.

“As agreed on behalf of the parties, this Court finds it appropriate to refer the disagreements arising between the parties with respect to the Contract Agreement dated July 22, 2013 to an independent sole arbitrator for its redressal,” the judge said and disposed of the plea.

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( With inputs from )

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