The Delhi High Court in a recent judgment held that courts have now consistently proceeded to appoint an independent arbitrator in situations where the arbitration clause is in conflict with the amended Arbitration Act. However, the unilateral right of a party to appoint an arbitrator has not been done away with.

In the Kadimi International v Emaar MGF Land Ltd case, a petition under section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, was filed by Kadimi before Delhi High Court challenging appointment of R S Baswana, District and Sessions Judge (retired) as the sole arbitrator, and for seeking appointment of an independent arbitrator, in terms of clause 35 of the Space Buyer Agreement. It was submitted that the conduct of Emaar in unilaterally appointing an arbitrator, despite Kadimi’s categorical objections in its letter, raises justifiable doubts over the neutrality, independence and impartiality of the arbitrator.

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The dispute digest is compiled by Bhasin & Co, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.