Sunday, January 29, 2023

ONGC-Afcons issue: Former CJI Dipak Misra, Justice TS Thakur appointed arbitrators

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Former Chief Justices of India (CJI), Justice Dipak Misra and Justice T.S. Thakur, have been appointed as the arbitrators in the dispute between the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Afcons Gunanusa.

Justice Dipak Misra, Justice TS Thakur, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, ONGC, Afcons Gunanusa,

The Supreme Court was apprised about the development by the Counsels for ONGC and Afcons. 

The Bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Surya have passed an order that ONGC has nominated Justice Thakur as its nominee arbitrator, while Justice Mishra has been nominated for Afcons.

The Court later on asked the newly- appointed arbitrators to appoint a third arbitrator as per the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996.

The court said that Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, senior counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent, states that Afcons Gunanusa JV has nominated Shri Justice Dipak Misra, former Chief Justice of India as their nominee Arbitrator. 

K.K. Venugopal, Attorney General for India, states that ONGC Ltd has nominated Justice T.S. Thakur, former Chief Justice of India, as their nominee Arbitrator. 

The two Arbitrators were requested to proceed to appoint the third Arbitrator in terms of the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996.

The Court was also apprised about the fact that both the parties have agreed that the venue of arbitration shall be Delhi.

The top court directed that the Arbitral Tribunal shall continue from the stage which was reached before the earlier tribunal.

The pleadings, evidence and documents which were before the earlier Tribunal, shall be transmitted to the newly constituted arbitral tribunal.

The parties have agreed that the fees of the Arbitrators shall be paid in accordance with the Fourth Schedule to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996.

The Apex Court got this case when ONGC asked for termination of the mandate of an arbitral tribunal, and sought substitution of a fresh set of arbitrators after their fee was sought to be revised.

The argument by the petitioner was that once the fee payable to the arbitrators was decided, the arbitrators must either accept their appointment on the terms agreed in the contract or refuse the arbitration then and there.

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