1. The question in this notice is whether when the parties to a suit agree to refer the question in dispute to arbitration, one of the parties can apply to the Court under Section 19 of the Arbitration Act for stay of proceedings.
2. It is contended by Mr. Robertson for the respondents that by Section 2 of the Act it is clear that the Act only deals with cases where references to Arbitration are made before proceedings are taken and, therefore, it would follow that unless there has been a Submission to arbitration before the suit is filed, an application for stay of proceedings cannot be made under Section 19. This is supported by the decision of the Appeal Court in Calcutta in the case of Ramjidas Poddar v. Howse 35 C.199 in which the learned Judges were decidedly of opinion that the Act only applied to cases where there had been a submission to arbitration before the commencement of legal proceedings. That case, of course, is entitled to the very best consideration I can give it. But apart from that case I should certainly be inclined to decide that Mr. Robertson's argument is correct and that the Act only applies to cases where references are made before proceedings are taken. No doubt, it would have been possible for the Legislature to legislate so that the Act should apply to cases where a reference is made after proceedings have been taken, but it is clear that they did not do so when they framed the Arbitration Act of 1899. Section 19 seems to me perfectly clear. It says:
3.'Where any party to a submission to which this Act applies or any person claiming under him, commences any legal proceedings' & c.
4. Therefore, such a person must be a party to a submission before the commencement of the proceedings. In this case it is admitted that the submission was made after the proceedings commenced, and, therefore, it is not competent for any party to apply under Section 19 to stay the proceedings.