In an attempt to make the Indian arbitration stronger and more regularized, the Cabinet has approved the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament. The Bill proposes to make the arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and to expedite speedy disposal.
One of the main objectives of the Bill is to facilitate speedy appointment of arbitrators through arbitral institutions designated by the Supreme Court or the High Court. Accordingly, the parties may directly approach the designated arbitral institutions for International Commercial Arbitration.
- The Bill provides to establish an independent body namely the Arbitration Council of India (“ACI”) which intends to make India a pivot of “independent and autonomous regime for institutionalized arbitration.” The ACI will grade arbitral institutions and accredit arbitrators by laying norms to promote and encourage arbitrations, conciliation, mediation and other dispute resolution mechanisms. The ACI is also required to maintain an electronic depository of all arbitral awards.
- It exclude International arbitration from all bounds of timelines and stipulates that the time limit for arbitral award in other arbitrations shall be 12 months from the completion of the pleadings by the parties.
- The arbitrator and the arbitral institutions are required to keep confidentiality of all the arbitral proceedings except the award. Further, an Arbitrator is also protected from suits or other legal proceedings for any action or omission done by him/her in good faith during the course of arbitration.
The Bill addresses problems like systemic delays, high costs, confidentiality issue, ineffective resolution and ensures quick enforcement of contracts along with minimizing hurdles of delay. It also aims at catalyzing cross-border business environment and to make India an attractive destination for the arbitration of international commercial disputes.