Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday directed for arbitration between the Central Government and the J&K Dairy Producers, Processors & Marketing Cooperative Union Limited, on the issue of revision of milk rates.
In a counter affidavit filed by the central government (respondents) it was contended that the petitioner Cooperative Union, if it had any grievance in relation to the contractual liability with regard to payment of rates, it had the option to refer the matter to Conciliation and Arbitration proceedings under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act as stipulated and agreed upon by the parties at Paragraphs 21 to 26 of the contract.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while hearing the parties and perusing the record said, “I am of the considered view that disputed questions of facts are involved herein this petition, which, in a Writ proceeding, cannot be gone into. Besides, the very existence of an ‘Arbitration Clause’ in the contract governing the parties leaves no option to the court but to point the parties in the direction of arbitration.”
The court recorded that it is a settled legal position that in exercise of Writ jurisdiction, this court cannot go into a fact-finding mission so as to ascertain the veracity of the rival claims.
“A Writ petition is also not the proper proceeding for enforcing contractual obligations; and, that if an alternative and equally efficacious remedy, in the shape of having recourse to Arbitration provided in the terms and conditions of the agreement governing the parties in the instant case, is available to a litigant, he is required to pursue that remedy and not invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court directly,” Justice Magrey noted.
The court while giving reference to Supreme court directives in case of Wazir Chand vs Union of India noted that in dealing with an application for filing an arbitration agreement, the court must satisfy itself about the existence of a written agreement which is valid and subsisting and which has been executed before the institution of any suit, and also that a dispute has arisen with regard to the subject matter of the agreement which is within the jurisdiction of the Court.
The court said that given the legal and factual position obtaining in the matter, it is crystal clear that there does exist a dispute between the parties in the instant case which clearly falls within the ambit of the arbitration agreement.
“For all that has been said and done herein above, the instant petition is disposed of with liberty to the petitioner to seek reference of disputes, as raised herein this petition, to the Arbitrator, strictly in accordance with the mandate of ‘Arbitration Clause’ stipulated in the agreement governing the relationship of the parties,” Justice Magrey said and directed.