NEYCER INDIA LIMITED Vs. GMB CERAMICS LIMITED
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
NEYCER INDIA LIMITED
GMB CERAMICS LIMITED
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(1.)This appeal is directed against the order dated 28/08/2000 of the Calcutta High court on the question, whether the Calcutta high Court retains jurisdiction to entertain and decide the legality of an award passed by the arbitral tribunal
(2.)The dispute centres round the "forum selection Clause" which was clause 24 of the agreement to the effect.
".. . The city civil court, Madras shall be the only court, which shall have jurisdiction to enforce the arbitration award obtained under this clause".
(3.)According to the appellant, in view of the aforesaid Forum Selection Clause agreed to by the parties, it is the court at Madras which will have the jurisdiction and even if the city civil court does not have the pecuniary jurisdiction then the clause must be read to hold that the High Court at Madras only has the jurisdiction to entertain and decide the legality of an award. It transpires that way-back in the year 1990, an application had been filed by the respondent in the calcutta High Court invoking its jurisdiction under section 41 of the Arbitration Act and the Calcutta High Court did pass an order in that application. Subsequently, the present appellant filed an application in the madras High Court for removal of one of the arbitrators, but the Madras High Court refused to entertain the application on the ground that the Calcutta High Court has already exercised the jurisdiction and by invoking the provisions of section 31 (4) of the Act, Madras High Court does not have any jurisdiction. Against the aforesaid judgment of the Madras High Court, the special leave petition was filed in this-Court, but that stood disposed of on consent of parties. Against the order of the Calcutta High Court passed under section 41 of the Arbitration act, no special leave petition to this Court had been filed and, therefore, the said order attained finality. It may be further stated that on the death of the umpire, late Justice e. S. Venkataramiah, the respondent filed an application before the Calcutta High court in November, 1997 and the appellant also filed a similar application before the madras High Court. While the High Court of Calcutta allowed the application filed on behalf of the respondent and appointed justice m. M. Dutt as umpire, the Madras High court rejected the application filed on behalf of the appellant on the ground that it has no jurisdiction and that order was not also assailed by the appellant by approaching this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. Against the order of the calcutta High Court appointing justice M. M. Dutt as umpire, the appellant filed special leave petition in this Court which, however, was dismissed in limine. Subsequent to the aforesaid chain of events, award having been passed and filed before the Calcutta high Court, the present appellant filed an application before the same, contending the self-same question as to the lack of jurisdiction of Calcutta High Court to entertain the award and also decide the legality or enforceability of the same and, that having been held against the appellant, the present appeal by grant of special leave has been filed.
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