1. This case is one in which a reference to arbitration was made when the suit was in the Court of First Instance.
2. The question at issue was referred to three arbitrators, namely, Nand Kishore, Jit Mal and Beni Ram, and the order of the Court was, that the award made by these arbitrators should be filed, that is to say, made and delivered, on or before the 19th September 1885. As a matter of fact the award of the three arbitrators was not filed on that date, but was signed by two of them on that date, and by Beni Earn, the third arbitrator, on the 20th September. Both parties objected to the propriety and correctness of the arbitrator's award, but their objections were overruled, and a decree based on the award was passed.
3. On appeal by the defendant the Lower Appellate Court set aside this decree, holding the award to be invalid, and remitted the case to the first Court for trial on its merits. This order of the Lower Appellate Court is the subject of the present appeal. The learned pleader for the appellant, while admitting that the award was not signed, filed and delivered within the period allowed by the Court, contends notwithstanding that the award was 'made' on the 19th September, in the sense of the last paragraph of Section 521, and therefore was valid. He bases his argument mainly on the terms of Section 515 of the Code, which provides that when an award has been made, the parties shall sign it, the argument being that an award, though unsigned, may still, in the sense of that section, be considered to have been 'made.' He also contends in an oral plea that the award of two out of three arbitrators having been made and signed on the 19th September, the award was a good one, inasmuch as it had been agreed that the opinion of the majority should carry the decision. I would not allow these contentions. Looking to Section 508 of the Code, I find that it is the duty of the Court to fix the time for 'delivery' of the award, and under Section 514, if the award cannot be completed within the time so fixed, the Court may enlarge the time for its delivery.' These are the only provisions referring to the period to be fixed by the Court; and as they both contemplate the delivery of the award, which necessarily pre-supposes the making and signing of such award, it follows that, under Section 521, the rule that no award shall be valid unless 'made' within the period fixed by the Court, is equivalent to a rule that the award must be 'delivered' within that period. In the case before us it is to be noted that the order to file or deliver the award before the 19th September was as precise as it could be. The award, therefore, in the case which was signed by two arbitrators only within the time fixed for its delivery in a completed state, and was not filed till the day after the expiry of the limit fixed by the Court, was not 'made within the period fixed by the Court.' As to the oral plea, it is sufficient to say that the Court's order was, that the award of the three arbitrators, and not the award of the majority, should be filed on or before the 19th September; and even the award of the majority was not delivered or filed on that day. I am, therefore, of opinion that the pleas in appeal are not sound, and that this appeal must be dismissed with costs.
4. I concur.