The Supreme Court recently directed inclusion of private individuals, lawyers and judges to the list of retired government engineers to be considered as arbitrators by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
The Court reiterated that neutrality, impartiality and independence are the hallmarks of any arbitration proceedings while disallowing the existing list of names for prospective arbitrator provided by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation pursuant to an arbitration agreement.
The Court also differentiated between independence and impartiality. The Court held” Independence and impartiality are two different concepts. An arbitrator may be independent and yet, lack impartiality, or vice versa. Impartiality, as is well accepted, is a more subjective concept as compared to independence. Independence, which is more an objective concept, may, thus, be more straightforwardly ascertained by the parties at the outset of the arbitration proceedings in light of the circumstances disclosed by the arbitrator, while partiality will more likely surface during the arbitration proceedings.”