1. An award made without the intervention of a Court was taken to Court under Section 14, Arbitration Act. Several objections to the award were raise by one of the parties and these included allegations of judicial misconduct on the part of the arbitrators. The objecting party wished to produce evidence in the form of oral testimony to support these objections. The Court disallowed this request holding that the matter could be decided on affidavits as required by Section 33, Arbitration Act. Oral evidence having thus been excluded, the matter was considered on the basis of the affidavits filed by the parties and the Court held that the objections were unfounded and thereupon directed the award to be filed and a decree made on its basis. The' objecting party has appealed.
2. Two questions arise for consideration: (1)whether the proceedings were under Section 33 of theAct and the procedure mentioned in it was tobe followed and (2) whether in the circumstancesthe Court was justified in exercising its discretionagainst the production of any evidence over andabove the affidavits.
3. The first matter raises an important question of law and after hearing learned counsel appearing before me, I find that the matter is not covered by any decided case. It is admitted that prior to the Arbitration Act, 1940 similar proceedings taken under Schdule II, Civil P. C., were usually treated as a suit and evidence of witnesses was usually allowed. It is therefore for consideration whether the Arbitration Act has made a deliberate departure from the previous practice. There are I find weighty considerations on both sides and considering that the matter has to be decided as one of first impression it is in my opinion proper that it should be decided ~ more authoritatively than can be done by me sitting alone. I would, therefore, subject to the orders of my Lord the Chief Justice, refer this appeal for decision to a Division Bench. Let the papers be laid before the Chief Justice.