Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 – Idioms carping ‘delay’ and ‘hurry’ in adjudication highlight the importance of both speedy disposal and reasonable opportunity, as both are essential for an even-handed and correct decision. Neither should be sacrificed nor inflated, as to prolong or trample a just and fair adjudication. A pragmatic and common-sense approach would invariably check any discord between the desire for expeditious disposal and adequacy of opportunity to establish one’s case.
Section 19 of the Act states that while the arbitral tribunal is not bound by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, in the absence of any agreement between the parties as to the procedure to be followed, the arbitral tribunal may conduct the proceedings in the manner it considers appropriate. Section 18 mandates that both parties shall be treated with equality and each party shall be given a full opportunity to present his case. Reference can also be made to Sections 24 and 25 and newly enacted Section 29A of the Act, which though not applicable to this case, emphasise on quick and prompt adjudications. [Para 7]