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Gujarat High Court Allows Appointing Arbitrator Under Section 11 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 Within Two Weeks

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Case: Alphard Maritime Pvt. Ltd. vs Malara Enterprises

Facts of the Case

The Petitioner is the owner of various tugs, barges, and offshore vessels. He required dry-docking services for the barge. On behalf of Respondent No.1, Respondent No.2 approached the Petitioner for the dry dock repairs of the barge at Sikka Port. Respondent No.1 sent the contractual terms through e−mail on 26.9.2019 for the dry-docking services. Clause−13 of the contract mentions that the Jurisdiction will be at the High Court of Gujarat”. The Respondent made several breaches of the contract. The Petitioner filed the petition to appoint Arbitrator under Section 11 of the Act under Clause−13 of the contract.

Arguments presented before the Court


The counsel for the Petitioner argued that the quotation dated 26.9.2020 contains arbitration. Clause−13 defines the contractual relationship between the parties. It was evident from the conduct of the parties that an arbitration agreement exists under Section 7 of the said Act. The arbitral tribunal is competent to rule on its jurisdiction or to determine all jurisdictional issues as well as the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement. If the record of agreement is in letters, telex, telegrams, or other means of communications, both the parties need not sign it. Clause− 13 states that the jurisdiction of arbitration will be at the High Court of Gujarat.


The Respondent challenged the maintainability of the petition under Section 11 of the Act. The Respondent stated that the quotation can not be a contract, it is an offer and not a binding contract, and that there was no arbitration clause in the purchase order. The counsel further submits that mere use of the word “arbitration” or “arbitrator” in a clause would not make it an arbitration agreement. 

Court’s Observation

The Court observed that the Petitioner had provided Notice of Arbitration to the Respondent through an e−mail and called upon them to appoint an independent Arbitrator. But, the Respondents did not agree to the request. The parties did not agree to appoint the Arbitrator within thirty days. Thus, the case would fall under sub-section (5) of Section 11 for the appointment of Arbitrator by the Court.

Court’s Decision

The Hon’ble Court allowed the petition allowing the Petitioner to appoint Arbitrator under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and made the rule absolute. The Court exercised its powers under sub−section (5) read with sub−section (4) and sub−section(2) of Section 11. The Court appointed Mr Justice Kartikeya Thaker, Former Judge of High Court of Gujarat, to act as an Arbitrator to resolve the disputes between the parties.

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