New evidence in arbitration case

In this blog post, Pravesh Naveriya from RDVV, Jabalpur, talks about the scope of new evidence being presented in between the arguments of an arbitration case when the evidence stage have already passed.

An arbitration deals with the cases where both the parties have given their free consent to it. The arbitration cases are usually the contract related cases or the cases in which both the parties feel that it would be better for both of them if the arbitrator decides the case. The arbitrator or the board of arbitrators is considered to be a person or a group of persons who has no relation with either of the two parties, neither good nor bad.

Evidence in Arbitration Cases

The arbitration cases have been exempted from following any procedure while dealing with the cases which have been referred to it.

  • The arbitrator is not supposed to follow any of the procedures which have been described either in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 or the Code of Civil Procedure,1908.
  • The procedural laws which are prescribed in these codes are not applicable to the arbitration cases, that is, the arbitrator is under no obligation to follow the procedures prescribed either for the proceeding or for the examination of the evidence etc.
  • The arbitrator is only under the obligation to follow the natural law of justice and no other law of proceedings.
  • Section 19 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 states that the procedure to determine the case is entirely on the demand of the competing parties.
  • If the competent parties are unable to settle or decide one mode then the arbitrator himself may decide the procedure to be followed for the proceeding of the case and to determine the admissibility, weight, relevance and materiality of the case.
  • As there is no need for any procedure to be followed the evidences can be taken and admitted the way the arbitrator and the competent parties want to be taken.
  • The only point which needs to be considered is that there is no violation of any rule of natural justice.
  • Any type of evidence can be submitted at any point of time, either with or without any notice to serve the evidence.
  • There is no prescribed procedure to serve any evidence not even for a fresh evidence.

Suggested Reading: Rules of Arbitration

When Can an Evidence be Submitted by the Arbitrator

In a Civil Court if any evidence is to be submitted, a notice is to be given regarding the notice which is to be served and if the court is convinced that it is relevant for the case then it will be admitted otherwise not. But this is not the case with an arbitration case. The evidence can also be submitted just before the order is to be delivered if the submitting party is able to convince the Arbitrator that the evidence is relevant to the case.

The only questions which an arbitrator shall consider before admitting and examining an evidence are:

  • Is the evidence relevant for the case
  • Is the evidence taken or received by the submitting party legally
  • Is the evidence violating any one’s fundamental right
  • Is the manner in which the evidence is being submitted been agreed upon by both the competent parties or not

Importance of Evidence in Arbitration Cases

  • An order which has been passed by the arbitrator without considering any evidence is liable to be set-aside.
  • Even an ex-parte order which has been passed by the arbitrator in absence of one of the parties need to mention the evidence which proves that the case is a case in which an ex-parte needs to be passed.
  • An arbitration order which has been passed without any evidence is considered to violate the natural law of justice which is not permissible in any case.

An evidence can also be presented in between the arguments of an arbitration case even if the evidence stage has been crossed if it is relevant to deliver justice. 

Conclusion

As there is no obligation upon the arbitrator to follow any rule under which any evidence shall be admitted, the arbitrator can also admit an evidence in between the arguments of a case. The arbitrator can also approach the civil court to determine whether any evidence shall be admitted or not in that part of the proceeding. The only thing which needs to be considered is that there shall be no violation of the law of natural justice

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