The Supreme Court in Northern Railway vs. M/s. Pioneer Publicity Corp. Pvt. Ltd., has observed that Section 34(3) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act has no application in re-filing the petition, but only applies to the initial filing of the objections under Section 34 of the Act.
Section 34(3) states that an application for setting aside an award may not be made after three months have elapsed from the date on which the party making that application had received the arbitral award or, if a request had been made under Section 33, from the date on which that request had been disposed of by the arbitral tribunal. However, if the court is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from making the application within the said period of three months, it may entertain the application within a further period of thirty days, but not thereafter.
The apex court made this observation while setting aside a Delhi High Court order refusing to condone a period of 65 days in re-filing the objections under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The bench comprising Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan rejected the contention that Section 34(3) of the Act bars re-filing beyond the period stipulated therein.
Setting aside the high court order, the apex court has directed that the objections of the Northern Railway under Section 34 be taken on the file of the court. However, it observed: “The appellant is the Northern Railway and while it is difficult to condone such inefficiency which seems to be a persistent reality with the organisation, such as the Northern Railway, that took time in arranging even the small things.”
Read the Judgment here.