"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well." -Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Justice Raveendran's Mandate Terminated for Excessive Fee

In the controversial case of Deepak Cables v. Chamundeshwari Electric Supply Company, Deepak Cables had invoked arbitration for non-payment of dues to the tune of Rs. 54 crores. Retd. Supreme Court Judge Raveendran was the arbitrator. In the preliminary meeting held in his residence, the arbitrator had proposed a fee structure and said he would be holding the sittings at Anup Shah Law Firm, subject to the consent of the parties. However, a petition was filed by one of the parties praying for appointment of another arbitrator since Justice Raveendran charged fee in excess of the cap of 8 lakhs fixed by the Karnataka High Court. The arbitrator had objected to the petition wherein he contended that the petition was an abuse of process of law and sought dismissal of the petition by imposing exemplary costs. However, the Court disagreed with the view and replaced him with a former judge of the Karnataka High Court as arbitrator.

It would be interesting to read more about the grounds on which the court ruled so. Readers may please send a copy of the judgement, if available. For now, see this news paper report. This decision, if supported by sound reasons, could be a precedent for replacement in case of excessive arbitrator fees but may also be a potential tool to delay or introduce multiple proceedings. 

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