The Lok Sabha on Friday took up for discussion a bill that seeks to encourage institutional arbitration for settlement of disputes and make India a centre of robust Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018, also seeks to establish Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other ADRs.
Moving the Bill, Minister of State for Law and Justice P. P. Chaudhary said commercial disputes have increased manifold due to globalization and dispute resolution mechanism being created by the government will prove to be a milestone.
The Bill seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 to facilitate speedy appointment of arbitrators through designated arbitral institutions by the Supreme Court or the High Court, without having any requirement to approach the court in this regard.
The proposed ACI will grade arbitral institution and accredit arbitrators by laying down norms .
It will evolve policy and guidelines for the establishment, operation and maintenance of uniform professional standards relating to arbitration and ADR mechanism. The ACI shall also maintain an electronic depository of all arbitral awards,
The Bill seeks to exclude international arbitration from the bounds of timeline and provides that time limit for arbitral award in other arbitrations shall be within 12 months from the completion of the pleadings of the parties.
The Bill provides that the arbitrator and the arbitral institutions shall keep confidentiality of all arbitral proceedings except award and protects an arbitrator from suit or other legal proceedings for any action or omission done in good faith in the course of arbitration proceedings.
Officials said that the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user friendly, cost effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators.
However, to give a boost to institutional arbitration vis-a-vis ad hoc arbitration and to remove some practical difficulties, a High Level Committee (HLC) under the Chairmanship of Justice B. H. Srikrishna, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India, was constituted by the Central Government.
They said the committee submitted its report on July 30, 2017 and the proposed amendments are according to the recommendations of the panel.