Arbitrators are appointed in India by the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Act provides that parties are free to determine the number of arbitrators which however, should not be an even number. Failing any determination by the parties, the arbitral tribunal shall consist of a sole arbitrator. The statutory requirement of odd numbers of arbitrators is a derogable provision. The existence of an arbitration agreement as defined under Section 7 of the Act is a condition precedent for exercise of power to appoint an arbitrator/Arbitral Tribunal, under Section 11 of the Act by the Chief Justice or his designate. It is not permissible to appoint an arbitrator to adjudicate the disputes between the parties, in the absence of an arbitration agreement or mutual consent. An agreement for reference to three arbitrators, implicates three arbitrators in the dispute settlement between the consensual parties.