9 November 2021| VGT Thankamani v. National Highway Authority of India | Arbitration Appeal No. 31 of 2016 | PB Suresh Kumar and CS Sudha JJ | Kerala High Court | 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 4096
In a case for acquisition of land for National Highway, since the compensation was not acceptable to the appellants, they preferred an application under the National Highways Act for determination of the compensation by the arbitrator appointed by the Central Government. The District Collector was the arbitrator. He called for a report on the value of the land from a District Level Arbitration Committee formed by the government. He was also the Chairman of that Committee. Later, he passed an award enhancing the land value as recommended by the Committee.
Still dissatisfied, the appellants applied to set the award aside under Section 34 ACA. The application was dismissed.
In an appeal under Section 37 ACA, several questions were considered.
First, when the arbitrator appoints an expert under Section 26 (1) (a) ACA, is it discretionary or mandatory to require the parties to give the expert any information or document relevant for the purpose of drawing up the report? The court answered:
Second, whether non-compliance of the requirements in Section 26(1)(b) ACA is a ground to set aside an award? The court concluded, yes:
Could the report be acted upon? The court answered, no:
Read our Update on the Supreme Court’s M Hakeem here for a snapshot of the mechanism under the NH Act.
Read the judgment here.
Categories: Application for Setting Aside Arbitral Award | Arbitration Appeals | Determination of Rules of Procedure | Expert Appointment by Arbitral Tribunal | Fair Hearing | Flexibility of Procedure | Fundamental Policy of Indian Law | Inability to Present Case | Independence and Impartiality of Arbitrator | Most Basic Notions of Morality or Justice | Natural Justice | Otherwise Unable to Present His Case | Patent Illegality | Procedure in Arbitration | Proper Notice | Public Policy of India | Rules of Procedure | Section 19 ACA | Section 26 ACA | Section 34 (2) (a) (iii) ACA | Section 34 ACA | Section 37 ACA