Calcutta High Court Denies Recourse as a Mixed Question of Law and Facts Arise

Facts of the Case

The instant dispute arose about an arbitration clause contained in a partnership deed and an Arbitrator was appointed by the court to adjudicate the dispute between the parties. The Petitioners (being Respondent nos. 1 to 4 to the Arbitration proceedings) in the plea filed under Section 16 of the said Act contended that the Arbitration proceedings were barred by limitation and had arisen after the dissolution of the firm after the expiry of more than 15 years. Thereafter, the Arbitrator rejected the application filed under Section 16, stating that the disputes did not give rise to a pure question of law instead involved a mixed question of law and fact. 

Therefore, the present petition was filed under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, challenging a decision dated 23.12.2020 passed by the impugned order.

Petitioner’s Arguments

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The Petitioner contended that the partnership business was for a fixed term of 15 years and had automatically dissolved upon the expiry of the said term and thus, because of the admitted facts the claim of the claimant was ex-facie liable to be dismissed.

Respondent’s Arguments

The Respondents argued that the application under Section 34 and 16 were misconceived and yet, not maintainable. Further, it was contended that the question of limitation involved in the case has a mixed question of law and fact and the Arbitrator has taken a view that did not warrant any interference.

Court’s Observation

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The Court remarked that said Act intended to ought to allow the Arbitral Tribunal to continue with the arbitral proceedings and make an award without delay. Therefore, a plea challenging under Section 34 of the Act was not maintainable against an already dismissed order under Section 16 of the Act. 

It was further held that since in the instant case, the Arbitrator at the present stage of the proceedings has not yet arrived at any conclusive finding, thus, there could be no interference by the Court.

Judgment

The Hon’ble Court dismissed the instant petition with no order as to costs.

Click here to view full judgment.


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