Decided on July 05,2017

Municipal Corporation For The City Of Kalyan And Dombivli Appellant
Rudranee Infrastructure Ltd. Respondents


S.C.GUPTE,J. - (1.) Heard learned Counsel for the parties.
(2.) These two arbitration petitions have been filed by the Petitioner Municipal Corporation for the Cities of Kalyan and Dombivali. The petitions challenge two separate aspects of one arbitral award, namely, (i) grant of relief in favour of the Respondent and (ii) refusal to grant relief claimed in the counter claim of the Petitioner. The Respondent has taken out Notice of Motion No.1302 of 2016, contesting the jurisdiction of this Court to entertain these arbitration petitions. The contest is on the ground that the District Court at Thane, which anyway would have been a court of concurrent jurisdiction, is actually the court of exclusive jurisdiction, having been approached by the party in a prior application under Section 9 of the Arbitration And Conciliation Act, 1996 ("Act") as well as by way of an arbitration petition challenging the award under Section 34 of the Act. It is submitted that, in the premises, this Court has no jurisdiction to entertain these two arbitration petitions by virtue of the provisions of Section 42 of the Act. The Petitioner, for its part, has taken out a miscellaneous application for transfer of the challenge petition filed under Section 34, which is pending before the Thane Court.
(3.) It is not a matter of contest that the District Court at Thane is a court of competent jurisdiction with reference to the cause of action in the present reference. Several important events which form part of the cause of action have indeed occurred in Thane. It is also not a matter of contest that the District Court at Thane was the court approached first by way of an application under PartI of the Act. What is, however, submitted by Mr. Chinoy, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the Petitioner, whilst opposing the Notice of Motion of the Respondent, is that Mumbai having been determined as the place of arbitration, this Court, exercising its ordinary original civil jurisdiction over Mumbai, is the court of exclusive jurisdiction over the arbitration reference. Based on the judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Indus Mobile Distribution Private Limited Vs. Datawind Innovations Private Limited1, it is submitted that in a challenge arising out of an arbitration reference, one has not to go merely by jurisdiction in terms of the cause of action, but also in terms of "subject matter of the arbitration" and that includes the conduct of the reference itself. Relying on the judgment of Indus Mobile, it is further submitted that once the seat of the arbitration is designated or gets fixed, such designation or fixation has the effect of conferring exclusive jurisdiction on the court which exercises supervisory jurisdiction over the arbitration with reference to the seat of arbitration.;

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