Kinnari Mullick vs Ghanshyam Das Damani - Supreme Court
Kinnari Mullick vs Ghanshyam Das Damani - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 -
On 20th April, 2017, in the case of Kinnari Mullick and Anr. v. Ghanshyam Das Damani [Civil Appeal No.5172 of 2017], the issue for consideration was whether Section 34(4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 empowers the Court to relegate the parties before the Arbitral Tribunal after having set aside the arbitral award in question and moreso suo moto in absence of any application made in that behalf by the parties to the arbitration proceedings.
A three Judges Bench held that “the Court can defer the hearing of the application filed under Section 34 for setting aside the award on a written request made by a party to the arbitration proceedings to facilitate the Arbitral Tribunal by resuming the arbitral proceedings or to take such other action as in the opinion of Arbitral Tribunal will eliminate the grounds for setting aside the arbitral award. The quintessence for exercising power under this provision is that the arbitral award has not been set aside.
Further, the challenge to the said award has been set up under Section 34 about the deficiencies in the arbitral award which may be curable by allowing the Arbitral Tribunal to take such measures which can eliminate the grounds for setting aside the arbitral award. No power has been invested by the Parliament in the Court to remand the matter to the Arbitral Tribunal except to adjourn the proceedings for the limited purpose mentioned in sub-section 4 of Section 34.”
It was held that “in any case, the limited discretion available to the Court under Section 34(4) can be exercised only upon a written application made in that behalf by a party to the arbitration proceedings. It is crystal clear that the Court cannot exercise this limited power of deferring the proceedings before it suo moto. Moreover, before formally setting aside the award, if the party to the arbitration proceedings fails to request the Court to defer the proceedings pending before it, then it is not open to the party to move an application under Section 34(4) of the Act. For, consequent to disposal of the main proceedings under Section 34 of the Act by the Court, it would become functus officio. In other words, the limited remedy available under Section 34(4) is required to be invoked by the party to the arbitral proceedings before the award is set aside by the Court.”