On 26.05.2022, the Jaipur Bench of Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan pronounced an order in the matter of Vimlesh Bansal and Ors. vs. Ashok Kumar which ruled that an arbitration application for the appointment of an arbitrator filed 3 years and 7 months after the termination of the proceedings of the arbitrator is not maintainable since it is barred by limitation.
In Arbitration Application No. 51 of 2020, the applicants had filed an application under Section 11(5) read with Section 11(6) and Sections 14 and 15 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 for the appointment of a sole arbitrator for the settlement of disputes between the parties.
However, an application had earlier been filed before and allowed by the Hon’ble High Court in its order dated 23.09.2016, where Mr Brij Mohan Gupta was appointed as the sole arbitrator. The arbitrator had issued notices to the parties, and the order sheet of the arbitrator indicated that none of the parties appeared before the arbitrator which led to the termination of the proceedings on 29.11.2016 because of Section 32(2)(c) of the Act.
The applicants did not agitate the termination of the proceedings and approached the Court a second time after a lapse of 3 years and 7 months, while the provision of Article 137 of the Limitation Act specifies a limitation period of 3 years. Further, the parties did not resort to the recourse available to them by applying to the “Court” as is envisaged in Section 14(2) of the Act, which would have directed them to a Civil Court or the High Court.
By dismissing the second application, the Hon’ble Court placed significance on the legal maxim ‘Vigilantibus Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt’ i.e., the law only assists those who are vigilant and not those who sleep on their rights.