Cinevistaas Ltd. vs. Prasar Bharti (12.02.2019 – DELHC) : MANU/DE/0592/2019, Coram : Justice Prathiba M. Singh, J

Facts:

๐Ÿ‘‰ The Petitioner, Cinevistaas Ltd., had undertaken production of a game show the telecast of which was approved by Prasar Bharti, which is the public service broadcaster established under a statute.

๐Ÿ‘‰When Prasar Bharti informed Cinevistaas that the show would not be aired, the latter triggered arbitration and a sole arbitrator was also appointed by the High Court of Delhi upon an application made by Cinevistaas.

๐Ÿ‘‰ During the pendency of the arbitration, Cinevistaas moved an application before the arbitrator seeking permission to correct two claims in its statement of claims.

๐Ÿ‘‰Through the correction, Cinevistaas sought to increase the claims regarding losses incurred on account of concept development, research scripting and appointing technicians.

๐Ÿ‘‰ This application was dismissed by the arbitrator on 08.08.2009 on the ground of limitation. The arbitrator held that the changes sought to be made by the application constituted additional claims and that the application for incorporating such additional claims, was barred by limitation.

๐Ÿ‘‰It was this order of the arbitrator that was challenged before the High Court.

Sequitur by the Court:

35. Arbitral proceedings are not meant to be dealt with in a straightjacket manner. Arbitral proceedings cannot also be conducted in a blinkered manner. There could be various situations wherein, due to inadvertent or other errors, applications for amendments/corrections may have to be moved.

๐Ÿ‘‰ So long as the disputes fall broadly within the reference, correction and amendments ought to be permitted and a narrow approach cannot be adopted.

36. In the facts of this case, it is clear that the quantification of claims was done correctly in the notice invoking arbitration, in the application under Section 11 as also in the writ petition filed by the Petitioner.

๐Ÿ‘‰ The rejection of the additional claims has in fact resulted in greater delay rather than expeditious disposal. The bona fides of the Petitioner are not in question. Rejection of additional claims by the impugned order have all the trappings of an award and hence the Section 34 petition is clearly maintainable.

37. It is, accordingly, held that the present petition is maintainable. Additional claims having been raised in the first place in the notice invoking arbitration, the claims are not time barred by limitation as the commencement of arbitral proceedings is governed by Section 21 of the Act which stipulates that the notice invoking arbitration constitutes commencement. Amended claim petition is, therefore, directed to be taken on record.

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