Delhi High Court : Arbitral award is merely invalid because it does not bear the signature of the arbitrator on every page
June 29, 2021 New Delhi, India
On 23th June , a single judge bench of Delhi High Court of Justice V. Kamaleshwar Rao dismissed an appeal and held that an arbitral award cannot be merely declared as invalid, as the learned arbitrator has’nt signed each and every single page of the decision or award and the award or the decision has been types in three variant fonts.
Facts of the case:
The petition was filed under the Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 for the setting aside an arbitral award. The dispute involved in this petition is of the commercial value of 5,15,54,292/-. The manufacturer is respondent and the Distributor of Ferrites is the petitioner and in the case of the parties that both the petitioner and the respondent entered into a non-exclusive Distributorship Agreement.
The disputes arised between the parties regarding the non- payment and the dishonoured of the cheque. After considering the evidence and material on record, the learned Arbitrator concluded that a sum of ?54,14,934/- was recoverable by the respondent/claimant from the petitioner against its outstanding dues. The same was thus challenged.
Contention of the petitioner:
Mr Rohit Goel, the learned counsel of the petitioner contended that the award was liable to be set aside on the respective grounds:
It was contended that the impugned Award is liable to be set aside as the award does not bear the signature of the Arbitrator on each page and even the Award has been typed in three variant fonts on three various types of sheets.
It was contended that according to the Distribution Agreement, conciliation of accounts has not been claimed by the respondent/ claimant and that the cheques were taken in advance with a mutual understanding not to present them for encashment without the prior intimation to the petitioner.
It was submitted that the arbitrator fails to appreciate the difference in the amount that has been claimed, as at one place and the respondent has claimed around Rs. 40 lacs and on the other hand it claimed Rs. 54,00,000/- in the claim petition, which makes it clear that the respondent has manipulated its record.
It was submitted that the learned arbitrator accepted the account statement at the time of final arguments has been rebutted the contents of the account statement without giving any of the opportunity to the petitioner.
Contention of the Respondent:
The contentions that have been submitted by Mr. Bharat Chugh, the learned counsel appeared on behalf of the respondent:
The respondent/claimant’s claims were rightly allowed by the Arbitrator and the impugned Award should be sustained.
The cheques dated of June 30, 2009 and July 7, 2009 were dishonoured on July, 2009 and July 14, 2009 respectively and in accordance with the learned arbitrator has construed that the petitioner must cleared the outstanding liabilities.
It is stated by Mr. Chugh that the claim of 2.5 crores by the petitioner was made under various heads and the arbitrator disallowed the same not substantiated and there is no evidence was led to prove the same and were their no break ups in this case.
Observation and order of court:
The Hon’ble bench made the following observations:
The plea of Mr. Goel that the award is typed in three different fonts and not signed in every page shall not make the award invalid.
It is reiterated that learned Arbitrator is justified in his conclusion on its competency to file the claim petition on behalf of the respondent Company L.D. Sharma.
The learned arbitrator has a right to rely upon Ex. R-66, which has the communication of the respondents filed by the petitioners . The communication was in response of the letter of the petitioner of the same date that is on 9th July ,2009.
In the view of the observations , the court does not found merit in the petition and thus the same was dismissed without any costs.