Chapter – IV: Jurisdiction of Arbitral Tribunal (Section 16 – 17)

Section 16: Competence of arbitral tribunal to rule on its jurisdiction

(1) The arbitral tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, including ruling on any objections with respect to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement, and for that purpose,—

(a) an arbitration clause which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract; and

(b) a decision by the arbitral tribunal that the contract is null and void shall not entail ipso jure the invalidity of the arbitration clause.

(2) A plea that the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction shall be raised not later than the submission of the statement of defence; however, a party shall not be precluded from raising such a plea merely because that he has appointed, or participated in the appointment of, an arbitrator.

(3) A plea that the arbitral tribunal is exceeding the scope of its authority shall be raised as soon as the matter alleged to be beyond the scope of its authority is raised during the arbitral proceedings.

(4) The arbitral tribunal may, in either of the cases referred to in sub-section (2) or sub-section (3), admit a later plea if it considers the delay justified.

(5) The arbitral tribunal shall decide on a plea referred to in sub-section (2) or sub-section (3) and, where the arbitral tribunal takes a decision rejecting the plea, continue with the arbitral proceedings and make an arbitral award.

(6) A party aggrieved by such an arbitral award may make an application for setting aside such an arbitral award in accordance with Section 34.

Section 17: Interim measures ordered by arbitral tribunal—

(1) A party may, during the arbitral proceedings, apply to the arbitral tribunal—

(i) for the appointment of a guardian for a minor or person of unsound mind for the purposes of arbitral proceedings; or

(ii) for an interim measure of protection in respect of any of the following matters, namely—

(a) the preservation, interim custody or sale of any goods which are the subject matter of the arbitration agreement;

(b) securing the amount in dispute in the arbitration;

(c) the detention, preservation or inspection of any property or thing which is the subject matter of the dispute in arbitration, or as to which any question may arise therein and authorising for any of the aforesaid purposes any person to enter upon any land or building in the possession of any party, or authorising any samples to be taken, or any observation to be made, or experiment to be tried, which may be necessary or expedient for the purpose of obtaining full information or evidence;

(d) interim injunction or the appointment of a receiver;

(e) such other interim measure of protection as may appear to the arbitral tribunal to be just and convenient,

and the arbitral tribunal shall have the same power for making orders, as the court has for the purpose of, and in relation to, any proceedings before it.

(2) Subject to any orders passed in an appeal under Section 37, any order issued by the arbitral tribunal under this section shall be deemed to be an order of the court for all purposes and shall be enforceable under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908), in the same manner as if it were an order of the court.


1. Scope of Jurisdiction of Arbitral Tribunal

IFFCO Ltd. v. Bhadra Products, (2018) 2 SCC 534: “It may be noticed that Sections 16(1) to (4) are based on Article 16 of the Uncitral Model Law. The Kompetenz principle deals with the Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction in the narrow sense of ruling on objections with respect to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement. What is important to notice in the language of Section 16(1) is the fact that the Arbitral Tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, which makes it clear that it refers to whether the Arbitral Tribunal may embark upon an inquiry into the issues raised by the parties to the dispute.”