In a recent post, we had commented on the judgement of the Supreme Court on Monday (31.03.2014) appointing a foreign arbitrator (Justice Spigelman, Australia) as the third and presiding arbitrator in the arbitration proceedings under the Production Sharing Contract between RIL Consortium (consisting of Reliance Industries Ltd., British Petroleum and Niko Resources) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India. The matter was once again mentioned in the Supreme Court on Wednesday (02.04.2014) by the counsel for the Government of India wherein it was contended that the arbitrator appointed by the Supreme Court was in fact the first in the list of arbitrators submitted by RIL Consortium. The counsel for RIL Consortium agreed and therefore the judge had no other option but to withdraw the order of appointment.
The appointment became a controversy because the judge had in his judgement stated that he had conducted an independent "survey" in finding a suitable arbitrator. In the withdrawal order, the judge stated that a "substitute arbitrator shall be appointed subsequently by a separate order." The withdrawal order can be accessed from here. News reports on the withdrawal can be accessed from here and here.