Polity and Governance

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019

What’s in News Recently, The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Lok Sabha. The bill has already been passed in the upper house of the parliament. This bill aims at making India an international arbitration hub. Aim and Objective •The bill seeks to establish a robust mechanism to deal with institutional disputes and ensures the accountability of the arbitrator. •The bill provides for setting up of Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms. •As per Section 43B of the Act, the Arbitration Council of India will have perpetual succession and a common seal, with power, subject to the provisions of the Act, to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable, and to enter into a contract. It can sue or be sued. Background Earlier, the parties were free to appoint arbitrators and in case of disagreement the parties could request the supreme court or the concerned high court or any person or institution designated by such court to appoint an arbitrator. This was a time taking and cumbersome process. Key Features and Changes •The ACI would be responsible for framing rules on how institutions would be graded, norms to be followed, monitoring of quality and performance. •The bill amends the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996. •It allows the appointment of arbitrators by “arbitral institutions” as designated by the Supreme Court or a High court. Expedite the Process Parties now can directly approach the arbitral institutions. For international commercial arbitrations, appointments shall be made by the institutions designated by the Supreme Court and for domestic it shall be made via institutions designated by the concerned High Courts. The Bill seeks to remove time restriction for international commercial arbitrations and says tribunals must try to dispose of international arbitration matters within 12 months. Appointments and Composition The government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, will appoint the chairperson of the ACI who is either •A Judge of the Supreme Court; or •A Judge of a High Court; or •Chief Justice of a High Court; or •An eminent person with expert knowledge in the conduct of an arbitration. Other members will include an academician with experience in arbitration, an eminent arbitration practitioner and government appointees. Beneficial for the Country India could become a global arbitration hub. This bill aims to put the country on the world map in arbitration proceedings. It will reduce the burden on the Regular courts. An effective ACI will share this burden of the court and even facilitate the speedy appointment of arbitrators. This would further aid the quick resolution of disputes outside the court. Other Importance To provide exhaustive list to choose an arbitrator The timely resolution of disputes will expedite the arbitration process, it provides for that the statement of claim and defence within a period of six months from the date the arbitrator receives the notice of appointment.

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