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Indian Arbitration System should be ‘seamless & efficient’: Justice B.R. Gavai

Arbitrators need to take care of ethics while conducting the proceedings: Justice Surya Kant

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It normally does not happen that on a single day, India’s two leading industry bodies – FICCI & ASSOCHAM – organizes seminar on similar themes. On December 7, Saturday, top judges of Supreme Court emphasized the need for India to not only evolve an Arbitration System that should be ‘seamless and efficient’ but the arbitrators need to take care of ethics while conducting the proceedings at the two separate events held on the same day.

 

At the Global Conference on International Commercial Arbitration organised by industry body ASSOCHAM, Justice B.R. Gavai, Judge, Supreme Court of India said in order to build confidence among international investors it is very necessary to establish that dispute redressal system in India that will not be time consuming.

 

In another event on arbitration organized by FICCI, a leading industry body, Justice Surya Kant, Judge, Supreme Court of India said that arbitration in India has achieved judicial acceptance but the arbitrators need to take care of ethics while conducting the proceedings.

 

“Today’s conference will go a long way in emerging India as a preferred arbitration destination. It will go a long way in resolving international commercial disputes in India in a shortest possible manner. It will go a long way in growing India as one of the most emerging economies of the world,” Justice B.R. Gavai said.

 

In his keynote address Justice Hari Shankar, Judge, Delhi High Court said that international commercial arbitration today has achieved a great deal of significance and in years to come commercial disputes in international arena are most likely to be completely resolved by arbitral process rather than litigation process. "So it is essential that such conferences where we get to know the nitty-gritties of international commercial arbitration are welcome and are held more often," he added.

 

Vineet Agarwal, Vice President, ASSOCHAM said, “The dispute resolution process has a huge impact on the Indian Economy and the global perception of doing business in India. This is clearly indicated by the World Bank rating on ease of doing business. Hence, it is very imperative for us to discuss effect and implications of amended arbitration and reconciliation bill and establishment of commercial partners. India is on track to build confidence in its legal system which is the fundamental condition for any country to become International Arbitration venue.”

 

FICCI Event: Indian Council of Arbitration

 

In another event on arbitration organized by FICCI, a leading industry body, Justice Surya Kant, Judge, Supreme Court of India said that arbitration in India has achieved judicial acceptance but the arbitrators need to take care of ethics while conducting the proceedings.

 

Speaking at the conference on ‘Arbitration in India: The New Scenario’, organized by Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA) at FICCI, Justice Kant said that the need for arbitration grew post-1991 after India’s integration with the global economy.

 

“Indian courts have developed new attitudes to balance constitutional objectives with economic realities. There is a sea change in the approach of Indian courts towards arbitration. Arbitration has now achieved judicial acceptance in India,” he said.

 

Justice Kant, however, flagged some areas of concern related to arbitration. He said the cost factor plays an important role for parties going into arbitration and so it should not be conducted according to the strict procedures of court proceedings.

 

Saying India still lacks enforceability of contracts, he warned about the possibility of arbitration converting into litigation. “Ethics is one area where arbitration institutions need to strengthen themselves. It is necessary to focus on ethics in arbitration given that arbitration to some extent replaces courts,” he added.

 

Apart from stressing the importance of ethics, independence and impartiality among the arbitrators, he advocated for institutional arbitration as the ad-hoc arbitration can lead to unpredictability. Arbitration must be taken as a regular profession, he said.

 

Justice JR Midha, Judge, Delhi High Court, spoke about a new procedure he had formulated in Delhi High Court, which is expected to revolutionize the enforcement of arbitral awards.

 

Stressing on the need to invoke morality or justice in setting aside arbitral awards, he said, “When we are hearing an appeal against a civil decree and order, we are not supposed to look at the morality. We are supposed to look only at legality. But arbitration awards should be put at a higher pedestal.” The ultimate purpose of every judicial proceeding is to find the truth and then do justice, he added.

 

NG Khaitan, President, ICA, said, “All stakeholders must take arbitration as serious business to overcome one of the hindrances to ease of doing business in India and to overcome delay in enforcement of contracts.”


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