Q.1)The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019 was enacted in order to make the arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators. Discuss.
Why this question:
Important topic of GS Paper II.
Key demand of the question:
Explain the importance of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019.
Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.
Give a brief introduction about the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019.
In the first part, highlight the key provision of the Act and the amendments made.
In the next part, mention the significance of the act in making the arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensuring speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators. Also mention certain lacuna of the Act and ways to resolve them.
Conclude with a way forward.
The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2019 amends the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Act contains provisions to deal with domestic and international arbitration, and defines the law for conducting conciliation proceedings. Arbitration and dispute resolution are two mechanisms for alternative dispute resolution.
Key Features of the Act
- Arbitration Council of India: It establishes an independent body called the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms.
- Mandate of ACI: to frame rules on (a) how institutions would be graded (b) norms to be followed and (c) monitoring of quality and performance.
- Composition of the ACI: a Chairperson who is either: (i) a Judge of the Supreme Court; or (ii) a Judge of a High Court; or (iii) Chief Justice of a High Court; or (iv) an eminent person with expert knowledge in conduct of arbitration.
- Relaxation of time limits: it removes this time restriction of 12 months for tribunals to make their award for arbitration proceedings, which was prescribed by the original Act, for international commercial arbitrations.
- Completion of written submissions: The written claim and the defence to the claim in an arbitration proceeding should be completed within six months of the appointment of the arbitrators.
- Confidentiality of proceedings: It provides that the arbitrator, the arbitral institutions and the parties shall maintain confidentiality of information relating to arbitral proceedings
The above amendments will help to make India an international arbitration hub, will share the burden of the courts and even facilitate speedy appointment of arbitrators, give choice to parties to choose their own arbitrator and above all speed up the arbitration process.
The above Act will give a boost to institutional arbitration vis-a-vis ad hoc arbitration and to remove some practical difficulties in applicability of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015. It will facilitate achieving the goal of improving institutional arbitration by establishing an independent body to lay down standards, make the arbitration process more party friendly, cost-effective and ensure timely disposal of arbitration cases.