Dani Wooltex Corporation vs Sheil Properties Pvt. Ltd. 2024 INSC 433 – S 32 Arbitration Act – Termination Of Proceedings

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996; Section 32-The power to terminate proceedings under Section 32(2)(c) of the Arbitration Act can be exercised only if, for some reason, the continuation of proceedings has become unnecessary or impossible. Unless the Arbitral Tribunal records its satisfaction based on the material on record that proceedings have become unnecessary or impossible, the power under clause (c) of subsection (2) of Section 32 cannot be exercised. If the said power is exercised casually, it will defeat the very object of enacting the Arbitration Act;-It is the Arbitral Tribunal’s duty to fix a meeting for hearing even if parties to the proceedings do not make such a request. It is the duty of the Arbitral Tribunal to adjudicate upon the dispute referred to it. If, on a date fixed for a meeting/hearing, the parties remain absent without any reasonable cause, the Arbitral Tribunal can always take recourse to the relevant provisions of the Arbitration Act, such as Section 25;- The failure of the claimant to request the Arbitral Tribunal to fix a date for hearing, per se, is no ground to conclude that the proceedings have become unnecessary; – The abandonment of the claim by a claimant can be a ground to invoke clause (c) of sub­section (2) of Section 32. The abandonment of the claim can be either express or implied. The abandonment cannot be readily inferred. There is an implied abandonment when admitted or proved facts are so clinching that the only inference which can be drawn is of the abandonment. Only if the established conduct of a claimant is such that it leads only to one conclusion that the claimant has given up his/her claim can an inference of abandonment be drawn. Even if it is to be implied, there must be convincing circumstances on record which lead to an inevitable inference about the abandonment. Only because a claimant, after filing his statement of claim, does not move the Arbitral Tribunal to fix a date for the hearing, the failure of the claimant, per se, will not amount to the abandonment of the claim.

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