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Under Section 11, the court cannot go into the issue of limitation; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Indu Malhotra & Justice Ajay Rastogi

The issue which has fallen for consideration before the SC is whether the High Court was justified in rejecting the application filed under Section 11 for reference to arbitration, on the ground that it was barred by limitation.

It was held by the SC {Uttarakhand Purv Sainik  Kalyan Nigam Limited v. Northern Coal Field Limited } that the legislative intent underlying the 1996 Act is party autonomy   and   minimal   judicial   intervention   in   the arbitral process. Under this regime, once the arbitrator is appointed, or the tribunal is constituted, all issues and   objections   are  to   be   decided   by   the   arbitral tribunal.

In   view   of   the   provisions   of   Section   16,   and   the legislative policy to restrict judicial intervention at the pre­reference   stage,   the   issue   of   limitation  would require to be decided by the arbitrator. 

In view of that the SC set aside the impugned judgment   and  order  dated  11.01.2018  passed  by the   High Court, and directed that the issue of limitation be decided by the arbitral tribunal. 

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