My Lord, When an Arbitration Agreement is denied, can the Chief Justice or his Designate, in exercise of power under Section 11 of The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 appoint an Arbitrator without deciding the question whether there was an Arbitration Agreement between the parties, leaving it open to be decided by the Arbitrator?
“The question whether there is an Arbitration Agreement has to be decided only by the Chief Justice or his Designate and should not be left to the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal. This is because the question whether there is an Arbitration Agreement is a jurisdictional issue and unless there is a valid Arbitration Agreement, the application under Section 11 of the Act will not be maintainable and the Chief Justice or his Designate will have no jurisdiction to appoint an Arbitrator under Section 11 of the Act.”
– Hon’ble Justice R.V. Raveendran, Bharat Rasiklal, (2012) 2 SCC 144.
Also see, Velugubanti v. Parvathini, [Civil Appeal No. 6198 of 2016] decided on 13.07.2016.