The by-law does not permit advocates to appear before arbitrators

A by-law of a commodity futures exchange here which does not permit advocates to appear before arbitrators has been challenged before the Madras High Court.

The matter has been brought before the High Court by a woman of Tiruvallur district who said that depriving her of the assistance of a legally qualified person in her case was unjustified.

Mary Roseline of Maanampathi, R.N. Kandigai, alleged that Geojit Comtrade, Kochi, through various sources of inducements made her to do the business of trading of multi-commodity through its establishments.

After some time, the company took it for granted to utilise the funds provided through bank in her name for its business without her prior consent.

She issued a notice. When she sought details of the transactions there was no response.

It approached the Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Ltd (MCX) arbitrators to decide the dispute without proper statutory notice to her, she alleged.

When she approached the arbitrators to permit her to represent her case and to collect the papers through an advocate, it was not entertained.

The reason cited by the arbitrators was that MCX by-laws did not permit appearance of advocates.

The petitioner said the clause 15.22 of the by-law should be struck down as it affected a person’s fundamental right to avail himself or herself of legal assistance in the proceedings before arbitrators.

When the matter came up before Justice K.K. Sasidharan, counsel submitted that an award passed by arbitrator could be challenged before the High Court under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Such being the case, it was not correct to incorporate a provision preventing lawyers from appearing on behalf of their parties before arbitrators.

Mr. Justice Sasidharan granted an interim stay of all further proceedings of the arbitration in the petitioner’s case pending before the arbitrators till September 16.

He ordered notice to the Centre and others, returnable by that date.

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