Arbitration and Conciliation Act: Can Courts Entertain Applications even after the Arbitral Tribunal is constituted

In the case of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India Ltd v. Essar Bulk Terminal Ltd ., the Supreme Court dealt with the question whether it could still entertain a case under Section 9(1) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, after an Arbitral Tribune had been already set up. The Court also dealt with the issue of the meaning of the word “entertain” in Section 9(3) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Section 9 is titled ‘Interim Measures by Court’, and also the clause (1) states that a party may at any time before the enforcement of arbitral award, can apply to court for measures like the amount for dispute in arbitration, detention or preservation of any property subject-matter of arbitration dispute, etc.

Justice Indira Banerjee said that Court cannot take case under Section 9, but case can only be entertained if Section 17 where measures by Arbitral Tribunal are given is ineffective.

With the present situation the Arbitral Tribunal had almost equal power to grant interim relief under Section 17 as the Court can grant under Section 9(1), therefore unless the relief cannot be granted by Arbitral Tribunal, the Court will not entertain application.

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