“The soul of every adjudicatory process is the recording of reasons.” It indicates a ‘disclosure of mind‘, which in turn demonstrates an ‘application of mind‘. In Raipur Development, (1989) 2 SCC 721, however, the SC held that a Non-Speaking Arbitral Award cannot be set aside except in cases where the parties stipulate that the Arbitrator shall furnish reasons for his Award. In Anand Brothers v. Union of India, (2014) 9 SCC 212 an Arbitrator, conducting proceedings under The Old Act, was governed by the Condition of Contract that he shall indicate his ‘findings‘ separately on each item of dispute. The Arbitrator’s Award was admittedly unsupported by any reason, no matter the Arbitrator had in the column captioned ‘findings‘ made comments like ‘sustained‘, ‘partly sustained‘, ‘not sustained‘. Were his findings, findings at all? While answering in the negative, the SC drew upon the “paradigm shift in the legal position under The New Act”, which is an exposition of the earlier legislation. Section 31(3) of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 obliges Arbitral Awards to state reasons upon which it is based unless the parties have agreed that no reasons are to be given or the Arbitral Award is based on the consent of the parties. It was held, “The judicial climate in which Arbitral Awards are being made and viewed also lends itself to an interpretation that would make it obligatory for the Arbitrator to record reasons in support of the findings recorded by him.” A finding should imply something more than the mere recording of a conclusion.
'The Last Word' seeks to include not only wise and witty sayings of the judges but also curiosities of lawyers and the law. This blog is not of obligation but of delight. I frankly confess my ignorance of much that ought to be included from overseas jurisdictions; and I utter a gentle prayer that those who know better would lighten my darkness. I am confident that I am not alone in my refusal to believe that the law is tedious or that Indians really like all their law dull. For all that has escaped these percipient eyes, mea culpa maxima. History, after all, has many cunning passages, contrived corridors and issues.