1. This is an appeal against the order of the Subordinate Judge, Amritsar, making an award a rule of the Court under Section 17 of the Indian Arbitration Act, 1940. The question raised in appeal before me is that the application upon which the award was made a rule of the Court was barred by time and was, therefore, liable to be dismissed.
2. The facts briefly are that parties to this litigation entered into an agreement to refer the dispute between them to the arbitration of Girdhari Lal arbitrator on 20-1-43. On the next day, Girdhari Lal made the award which was signed by both parties and subsequently registered. No further action appears to have been taken by either party but on 23-6-44 i. e., more than a year later Radha Kishan, one of the parties, filed a suit for a declaration that the property which was the subject-matter of the award should not be dealt with by Ganga Ram who is the present appellant before me. This suit was decreed but an appeal was allowed by the Senior Subordinate Judge on 30-10-47. A second appeal filed in the High Court also failed and the result was that Radha Kishan's suit stood dismissed.
In the meantime i. e., on 2-2-48 Radha Kishan filed an application in the Court praying that the award be made a rule of the Court. In the application, he relied upon Section 17 of the Indian Arbitration Act and said that the agreement in original was being filed with his petition. Objection was taken by the respondent (the appellant before me) that this application was really an application under Section 14 of the Act and was, therefore, barred by time. The Subordinate Judge came to the conclusion that it was not an application under Section 14 but an application under Section 17 and decided the point of limitation against the appellant. Some other points arising in the case were also decided and the final decision was that the award was made a rule of the Court.
3. The question is whether the application upon which the decision of the learned trial Judge was given was an application under Section 14 or some other Section of the Arbitration Act. Section 14 deals with the filing of the award by the arbitrators. It provides that
'the arbitrators or umpire shall, at the request of any party to the arbitration agreement or any person claiming under such party or if so directed by the Court ... ...... ...cause the award or a signed copy of it ...... ... toto be filed in Court * * * *'.
In the present case, no application was madeto the arbitrator and it was not the arbitratorhimself who made an 'application to the Courtto file the award. It was one of the parties tothe agreement that applied to the Court directly. It is quite clear, however, that thefirst step is to call upon the arbitrator to filehis award and until this is done, the provisionsof Section 17 do not come into play. An awardcan only be made a rule of the Court after ithas been filed and the only Section which dealswith the filing of the award is Section 14 andaccording to this Section the award maybe filed by the arbitrator 'suo motu' or upona direction given by the Court. The Court maygive a direction when moved by a party to thearbitration or by any person claiming undersuch party. Therefore, it is clear that the present application was an application under Section 14. Section 17 merely deals with whatthe Court has to do after the award has beenfiled and after any objections that may beraised against it have been disposed of. Thatstage has not yet arrived and therefore it isclear that the application of Radha Kishan wasmade under Section 14 although for obviousreasons it mentioned only Section 17.
4. Now, an application under Section 14 is covered by Article 178 of the Indian Limitation Act and such application must be made within ninety days of 'the date of service of the notice of the making of the award'. This means that an application under Section 14 must be made within ninety days of the day when the applicant comes to know of the existence of the award. The award in the present case was signed by both parties on 21-1-43 and Radha Kishan, therefore, knew that the award had been made. In other words, he had notice of it. His application should therefore, have been filed within ninety days of 21-1-43 and. not having been made until 2-2-48, it is clearly barred by time.
5. This appeal, therefore, must be allowedand I set aside the order of the SubordinateJudge and dismiss Radha Kishan's applicationwith costs.