SC withdraws Spigelman as arbitrator in RIL-Centre dispute

The Supreme Court today withdrew the name of James Spigelman, ex-Chief Justice & LG of New South Wales, Australia, who was appointed by it as third arbitrator to resolve the dispute between Centre and RIL on KG basin.

Justice S S Nijjar, who had appointed Spigelman, agreed to withdraw his name after the Centre contended that the name of ex-Chief Justice of New South Wales was mentioned in the list of names proposed by the Reliance group for appointment as AN independent arbitrator.

The apex court had on March 31 named Spigelman as the third Arbitrator who shall act as the Chairman of the Arbitral Tribunal whose two other members are former Chief Justices of India -- S P Bharucha and V N Khare.

While Mukesh Ambani-led RIL has nominated former Justice Bharucha as its arbitrator, the Centre chose Justice Khare as its nominee.

Justice Nijjar had said that both, the Centre and RIL provided the list of eminent foreign arbitrators but he preferred to do his own survey for maintaining neutrality and chose the name of Justice Spigelman.

"Although two lists have been duly supplied by the learned counsel for the parties, I am of the opinion, in the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, it would be appropriate if an individual not named by any of the parties is appointed as the third arbitrator. I have discretely conducted a survey to find a suitable third arbitrator who is not a National of any of the parties involved in the dispute," he had said.

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