LS passes Bill to set up arbitration council

LS passes Bill to set up arbitration council

The Lok Sabha on Friday passed an amendment bill for speedy resolution of domestic and international arbitration disputes as well as the establishment of an independent body for grading of arbitral institutions and accreditation of the arbitrators.

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018, introduced by Minister for Law and Justice P P Chaudhary on July 18, was passed by the Lok Sabha members with voice votes after a debate on the amendments to the original Act proposed.

The bill, which seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, provides for establishment of the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the promotion of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other alternative dispute redressal mechanisms.

The ACI would frame policies for grading arbitral institutions and accrediting arbitrators; establishment, operation and maintenance of uniform professional standards for all alternate dispute redressal matters; and maintaining a depository of arbitral awards (judgments) made in India and abroad.

“It is a momentous and important legislation. It will pave way for India to become a hub of domestic and international arbitration,” Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad told the the House while replying to the concerns and issues raised by the members during debate.

The rules and regulations to be framed to implement the provisions of the bill will ensure that the arbitrators remain accountable and perform well.

The minister said that the bill provides for appointment of an arbitrator within 30 days and resolution of disputes within six months timeframe.

“We have put restrictions on unnecessary adjournments (under the provisions made in the amendment bill),” he also said.

As per the bill's statement of objects and reasons, the bill seeks to amend provisions of the original Act on the appointment of arbitrators so as to change the present system of appointment of arbitrators by the Supreme Court or High Court, to a system where the arbitrators shall be appointed by the "arbitral institutions" designated by the Supreme Court or High Court.

“In case where no graded arbitral institutions are available, the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court may maintain a panel of arbitrators for discharging the functions and duties of arbitral institutions,” it also stipulate.

The government will now have to introduce the bill in Rajya Sabha to get it passed from Parliament in the next session.

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