Arbitrator Selection/Removal in 1996 Act



The arbitrator is a neutral third party who is appointed to resolve a dispute between two or more parties outside the court system. They play a crucial role in arbitration proceedings, which is an alternative dispute resolution method used to settle conflicts.

In India, the process of appointment and removal of an arbitrator is governed by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, of 1996. The appointment of an arbitrator is dealt with by Section 11 and the removal of the arbitrator is dealt with by Sections 12 to 15 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

Appointment of an Arbitrator

  1. By agreement- The parties involved in a dispute can mutually agree on the appointment of a sole arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators. Such an agreement is nothing but an outlined clause, known as an “arbitration clause”, in a contract.


  1. In an Appointing authority case, if there is no such agreement on the appointment of an arbitrator, each party to the dispute shall appoint an arbitrator and the two appointed arbitrators shall jointly appoint a third arbitrator who acts as a presiding arbitrator. Also, the act provides for the involvement of an “appointing authority”, which can be a person or an institution designated to appoint arbitrators. The parties can approach such authority to make the appointment.


  1. By Court’s intervention in certain situations, if the parties and the appointing authority fail to make the appointment within 30 days from the receipt of a request by one party from the other party, the court can step in and appoint the arbitrator(s). Such an appointment can be made upon the request of either of the parties, by the Chief Justice of High Court or any person or institution designated by him.

Removal of an Arbitrator

  1. Challenging the Arbitrator party to the dispute can challenge the appointment of an arbitrator if there are justifiable doubts about the arbitrator’s impartiality or independence. If a party believes that an arbitrator is not suitable to resolve the dispute fairly, they can make an application before the court to remove the arbitrator.
  2. By agreement of parties-If all the parties to the dispute mutually agree to remove an arbitrator, they can do so by a written agreement.
  3. By Court’s intervention- The Court has the power to remove an arbitrator in certain circumstances, such as when an arbitrator fails to act impartially, independently, or diligently or incapacitates or fails to conduct the arbitration proceedings efficiently.


Arbitrators are chosen based on their expertise, knowledge, and experience in the relevant field related to the dispute. They act as private judges and are responsible for hearing the arguments and evidence presented by the parties involved, after considering to which, the arbitrator renders a decision, known to be an arbitral award which is legally binding on the parties.


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