The Supreme Court has held that Gujarat Public Works Contract Disputes Arbitration Tribunal has jurisdiction to make interim orders in terms of Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
The Tribunal is constituted under Section 3 of the Gujarat Public Works Contracts Disputes Arbitration Tribunal Act, 1992. In this case, the the Tribunal held that it can only exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under the Gujarat Act of which it is a creation. It was further held that if the Gujarat Act does not empower the Tribunal to grant injunction, and it cannot take recourse to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for grant of interim relief.
In appeal, taking note of the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and the Gujarat Act, the bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose observed:
Insofar as the powers vested in the Arbitral Tribunal in terms of the Section 17 of the A&C Act are concerned, such powers can be exercised by the Tribunal constituted under the Gujarat Act because there is no inconsistency in these two Acts as far as the grant of interim relief is concerned. This power is already vested in the tribunal 18 under the Gujarat Act and Section 17 of the A&C Act compliments these powers and therefore it cannot be said that the provisions of Section 17 of the A&C Act are inconsistent with the Gujarat Act.
Another issue in this case was that till the demand of the Government is crystallised or adjudicated upon, the Government cannot withhold the money of the contractor. The decision in Gangotri Enterprises Limited vs. Union of India and Others was relied on by the appellant. In this regard, the bench said:
"In our opinion, the judgment rendered in Gangotri Enterprises Limited (supra) is per incuriam because it relies upon Raman Iron Foundry (supra) which has been specifically overruled by three Judge Bench in the case of H.M. Kamaluddin Ansari (supra). "
Case name: State of Gujarat vs. Amber BuildersCase No. C.A. No. 8307 of 2019Coram: Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose Counsel for Appellant: Sr. Adv. Preetesh Kapoor,Counsel for Respondent: Adv K. G. Sukhwani
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