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he parties are free to agree on a procedure for challenging an arbitrator: Section 13(1)

Failing any agreement on a procedure for challenging the arbitrator, a party who intends to challenge an arbitrator shall, within fifteen days after becoming aware of the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or after becoming aware of any circumstances referred to in sub-section (3) of section 12, send a written statement of the reasons for the challenge to the arbitral tribunal: Section 13(2)

Unless the arbitrator challenged under sub section (2) withdraws from his office or the other party agrees to the challenge, the arbitral tribunal shall decide on the challenge: Section 13(3)

If a challenge under any procedure agreed upon by the parties or under the procedure under sub section (2) is not successful, the arbitral tribunal shall continue the arbitral proceedings and make an arbitral award: Section 13(4)

Power and duties of arbitrator: A & C Act 1996 imposes mandatory obligations on Arbitral Tribunal to follow and give due respect to the contents of the arbitration agreement. Whatever has been written in the arbitration agreement regarding procedure to be followed, documents to be used as evidence, mode of communications to be used, place of arbitration, language etc in arbitration proceedings, arbitral tribunal is bound to follow the contents of the arbitration agreement. The parties (in arbitration proceedings) shall be treated with equality and each party shall be given a full opportunity to present his case Sec 18.

The whole purpose of enacting the A & C Act 1996 is to remove technical difficulties; faced by the parties in the court proceedings, from arbitration proceedings. That is why sec 19(1) says that the arbitral tribunal shall not be bound by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The parties are free to agree on the procedure to be followed by the arbitral tribunal in conducting its proceedings Sec19 (2) but failing any agreement in this effect, the arbitral tribunal may conduct the proceedings in the manner it considers appropriate Sec19 (3).This power of the arbitral tribunal includes the power to determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of any evidence Sec 19(4). The tribunal should give reasons regarding the determination of admissibility, relevancy, materiality and weight of any evidence.

Section 16 of the act gives full competency to arbitral tribunal to rule on its own jurisdiction. ). But this competency is subject to courts’ supervision.

“Section 16-Competence of arbitral tribunal to rule on its jurisdiction.-
(1) The arbitral tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, including ruling on any objections with respect to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement, and for that purpose,----
(a) an arbitration clause which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract; and
(b) a decision by the arbitral tribunal that the contract is null and void shall not entail ipso jure the invalidity of the arbitration clause.

(2) A plea that the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction shall be raised not later than the submission of the statement of defence; however, a party shall not be precluded from raising such a plea merely because that he has appointed, or participated in the appointment of, an arbitrator.

(3) A plea that the arbitral tribunal is exceeding the scope of its authority shall he raised as soon as the matter alleged to be beyond the scope of its authority is raised during the arbitral proceedings.

(4) The arbitral tribunal may, in either of the cases referred to in sub-section (2) or sub-section (3), admit a later plea if it considers the delay justified.

(5) The arbitral tribunal shall decide on a plea referred to in sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) and, where the arbitral tribunal takes a decision rejecting the plea, continue with the arbitral proceedings and make an arbitral award.

(6) A party aggrieved by such an arbitral award may make an application for setting aside such an arbitral award in accordance with section 34.”

Though the arbitral tribunal has been empowered to order interim measures but this power is subject to arbitration agreement. Section 17 says:
“17.Interim measures ordered by arbitral tribunal.- 
(1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of a party, order a party to take any interim measure of protection as the arbitral tribunal may consider necessary in respect of the subject matter of the dispute.

(2) the arbitral tribunal may require a party to provide appropriate security in connection with a measure ordered under sub-section (1)”

Thus from above discussion, one can easily understood that there is no codified rules that govern arbitration proceedings except mentioned in arbitration agreement/clause if any. It is, therefore, one should be very careful before entering into any arbitration agreement/ clause in any walk of life.

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