Karnataka Arbitration Centre takes burden off courts

It disposed of 74 cases out of 141 in 14 months of existence

The Karnataka Arbitration Centre in the City, set up with an aim to reduce the burden on the courts, has proved to be quite a success. 

Since its inception 14 months ago, the Centre has received 141 cases. Staff at the Centre claim that a total of 74 cases have been disposed of satisfactorily. The venture hopes to bring government agencies also under its purview. 

The ‘not-for-profit’ arbitration centre, set up by the High Court of Karnataka in 2013, has been making its presence felt by settling commercial disputes. It is one among the two centres in the country, with the other located in New Delhi. 

The Centre addresses cases related to individuals as well as private companies. It has been assisting the judiciary by adjudicating cases pertaining to monetary transactions.

As per the Government Order issued on January 10, the Centre enjoys powers to settle cases between government agencies and private parties. The Order has made it mandatory to introduce a clause of arbitration between the government agencies and the contractors who seek government tenders. 

The Centre is already handling cases pertaining to not less than seven government departments and civic agencies, including disputes between private parties and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore Development Authority, Social Welfare department, Karnataka Udyog Mitra, KEONICS, BEML and Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company. While cases pertaining to the Social Welfare department revolve around advertising contracts, BBMP cases are all about contracts pertaining to civic works. The BEML case alone is valued at no less than Rs 200 to Rs 300 crore.

Pro bono cases

After suggestions, the Centre is now taking up pro bono cases for individuals who are unable to afford fees for legal procedures. Accordingly, the Arbitration Centre’s Board of Governors, with senior High Court judges as its members, has decided to extend its facilities for minimum fees. 

Usually, the fees charged by the Centre varies anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs one lakh and above, based on the dispute. In pro bono cases, the Centre offers its services for individuals at Rs 3,000 for claims or disputes not exceeding Rs three lakh and at Rs 5,000 for claims or disputes between Rs 3,00,001 and Rs 5,00,000. 

International cases 

The Centre has approached the consulates of foreign countries in Bangalore, seeking arbitration cases. With state-of-the-art facilities, the Centre is also expanding its premises by adding two more arbitration halls, to the existing five. It also intends to set-up smaller centres in places like Hubli-Dharwad.

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