The arbitrators are masters of their own procedure and subject to parties agreement, may conduct the proceedings “in the manner they consider appropriate.” This power includes- “the power to determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of any evidence”.
The only restrain on them is that they shall treat the parties with equality and each party shall be given a full opportunity to present his case, which includes sufficient advance notice of any hearing or meeting. Neither the Code of Civil Procedure nor the Indian Evidence Act applies to arbitrations.
Unless the parties agree otherwise, the tribunal shall decide whether to hold oral hearings for the presentation of evidence or for arguments or whether the proceedings shall be conducted on the basis of documents or other material alone.
However the arbitral tribunal shall hold oral hearings if a party so requests (unless the parties have agreed that no oral hearing shall be held).
Arbitrators have power to proceed exparte where the respondent, without sufficient cause, fails to communicate his statement of defence or appear for an oral hearing or produce evidence.
However, in such situation the tribunal shall not treat the failure as an admission of the allegations by the respondent and shall decide the matter on the evidence, if any, before it. If the claimant fails to communicate his statement of the claim, the arbitral tribunal shall be entitled to terminate the proceedings.