HC unseats judge Raveendran as arbitrator for charging high fee

HC unseats judge Raveendran as arbitrator for charging high fee

The High Court on Friday unseated former Supreme Court Judge Justice R V Raveendran as an arbitrator between Deepak Cables India Limited (DCIL) and Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CESC).

Hearing a petition by DCIL, seeking to unseat him, Justice Abdul Nazeer, who allowed the petition, replaced him with Justice V Jagannathan as arbitrator.

The petitioners had moved the Court stating that the former Supreme Court judge, who was appointed as arbitrator between the parties, is demanding excess fees than that fixed by the High Court.

Deepak Cables, one of the contractors, was seeking Rs 54 crore as claim for works undertaken under Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyuthikaran Yojana (RGGVY) by CESC.

Stating that the High Court has directed that the arbitration fees should not exceed Rs eight lakh, the petitioners said there was no cap on the fees to be paid to the arbitrator nor were there any restrictions on the number of sittings.

The petitioners informed the court that the former apex court judge has stated that he will conduct arbitrary proceedings at the place of his choice and charge fees as per his terms until High Court modifies the order.

“The learned arbitrator vide minutes of the preliminary meetings dated September 16, 2013 held at his residence proposed a fee structure and said he would be holding the sittings at Anup Shah Law Firm, subject to the consent of the parties,” the petition said and sought to replace Justice Raveendran and appoint any other arbitrator on the panel of Karnataka High Court Arbitration Centre.

Justice Raveendran, in his objections, has said that the petition is an abuse of process of law and should be dismissed by imposing exemplary costs.

On the fee structure, he has said the petitioners’ statements that there was no cap on the fees to be paid to the arbitrator is totally misleading.

Justice Abdul Nazeer replaced him with Justice V Jagannathan along with a direction to follow High Court arbitrary rules and have sittings at the High Court Arbitration Centre.

“In these peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, it is just and proper to appoint another arbitrator to adjudicate the dispute.

Therefore, Honourable Justice Sri V Jagannathan, former judge of this court is requested to enter upon the reference and arbitrate over the dispute between the parties and conduct arbitration proceedings at Arbitration Centre in terms of the Arbitration Center Karnataka (Domestic and International) Rules, 2012,” Justice Nazeer observed.

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