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Delhi High Court appoints NV Ramana as arbitrator in dispute between Delhi Metro and Arvind Techno Globe

The High Court of Delhi has appointed former Chief Justice of India, Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, as the sole arbitrator to adjudicate a dispute between Arvind Techno Globe and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRCL) related to a 2013 contract between the two parties.

The order was passed on March 6 by the Single-Judge Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh after questions were raised by Arvind Techno Globe over the independence of names proposed by DMRCL for appointment as arbitrator.

While appointing the 48th CJI as sole arbitrator in the case related to a Contract Agreement signed on July 22, 2013, the Single-Judge Bench directed the parties to appear before the arbitrator within 10 days.

It further ordered that the arbitrator’s fees should be paid as laid down in the Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Administrative Cost and Arbitrators Fees) Rules, 2018.

According to the petition filed by Arvind Techno Globe, the project awarded to it by DMRCL had been completed in 2018, after a 27-month delay due to DMRCL’s actions. After the completion of work, the petitioner raised a claim of Rs 20,64,14,428 under several heads. However, DMRCL denied to settle this claim.

It said they initially attempted to work out their differences via conciliation, but later moved on to finding solutions through arbitration after the conciliation process was not completed within a reasonable time.

The petitioner contended that DMRCL refused to appoint an independent arbitral tribunal of arbitrators, forcing the petitioner to move the High Court under Section 11 (appointment of arbitrators) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

The plea said DMRCL had suggested five names in violation of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Voestalpine Schienen GmbH vs Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.

The High Court noted that DMRCL had proposed the names of persons who were either from the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) or the Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE).

The Corporation asserted that none of these nominees were affiliated to DMRCL, which was a Joint Venture between the Government of India and the Delhi government.

DMRCL added that these persons would not fall under the categories listed in the Seventh Schedule of the Arbitration Act, which dealt with the disqualification of persons from being appointed as arbitrators on account of potential bias.

After taking note of the fact that there was no disagreement over whether the dispute was arbitral in nature, the Single-Judge Bench decided to refer the matter to a sole arbitrator appointed by it and disposed of the plea.

M/s Arvind Techno Globe JV was represented by Advocates Rahul Malhotra and Anchal Tiwari, while Advocate Deepanjay Dutta appeared for DMRCL.

(Case title: M/s Arvind Techno Globe vs Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited)

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