The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to establish an independent body to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators.
The Bill seeks to encourage institutional arbitration for settlement of disputes and make India a centre of robust .
Provisions of the Bill
- The Bill provides for creation of an independent body ‘Arbitration Council of India (ACI)’ to grade arbitral institution and recognize arbitrators by laying down norms and take all steps to promote and encourage arbitration, conciliation, mediation and other ADR Mechanism.
- The ACI shall be a body corporate. The Chairperson of ACI shall be a person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice or Judge of any High Court or any eminent person.
- It facilitates speedy appointment of arbitrators through designated arbitral institutions by the Supreme Court or the High Court, without having any requirement to approach the court.
- limit of 12 months (extendable by a further 6 months by consent of the parties) for completion of arbitral proceedings. If arbitral proceedings are not completed within the 18-month period, the mandate of the arbitral tribunal stands terminated unless on an application made by the parties, the court extends the time period.
- Excluding International Arbitration from the bounds of timeline and further to provide that the time limit for arbitral award in other arbitrations shall be within 12 monthsfrom the completion of the pleadings of the parties.
- A new section 42A is proposed to be inserted to provide that the arbitrator and the arbitral institutions shall maintain the confidentiality of all arbitral proceedings except the award
- It inserts a new section 42B to protect an Arbitrator from suit or other legal proceedings for any action or omission done in good faith in the course of arbitration proceedings.
- A new section 87 is proposed to be inserted to clarify that unless parties agree otherwise the Amendment Act 2015 shall not apply to (a) Arbitral proceedings .which have commenced before the commencement of the Amendment Act of 2015 (b) Court proceedings arising out of or in relation to such arbitral proceedings
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