Law ministry panel recommends revamp of arbitration framework

The recommendations submitted to law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad include setting up a dedicated bar for arbitration and creating special arbitration benches for commercial disputes in courts.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2017 14:49 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Justice BN Srikrishna committee,Law ministry panel,Ravi Shankar Prasad
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.(PTI File Photo)

The Justice BN Srikrishna committee, set up by the law ministry in January to suggest reforms in India’s arbitration mechanism, has recommended key amendments in the existing arbitration laws and establishment of an arbitration promotion council of India (APCI) among other suggestions.

The recommendations submitted to law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday include setting up a dedicated bar for arbitration and creating special arbitration benches for commercial disputes in courts.

The committee — set up on the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to turn India into an international hub of arbitration — has said the Arbitration and Conciliation Act should be limited to domestic arbitrations and suggested a time limit for completion of proceedings.

The proposals are aimed at creating an ecosystem to prepare and showcase India as an international arbitration hub, Prasad said on Friday, adding that the government will take a “structured view” on them.

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The APCI will recognise professional institutes providing accreditation of arbitrators and “interact with law firms and law schools to train advocates with interest in arbitration and with a goal to create a specialist arbitration bar comprising of advocates dedicated to the field”.

Reflective of the current state of institutional arbitration in the country, Prasad said the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) in Delhi had only conducted “22 arbitrations in 23 years since it was set up”.

“They have also suggested that the ICADR under the ministry be taken over by a statute and revamped to make it globally competitive,” Prasad said.

“Changes have been suggested in various provisions of the 2015 Amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act with a view to make arbitration speedier and more efficacious and incorporate international best practices,” he said.

The committee has recommended creation of the post of an International Law Adviser (ILA) to advise the government and coordinate dispute resolution strategy for the government in disputes arising out of its international law obligations.

The committee has also said the department of economic affairs (DEA) should consult the ILA at the time of negotiating and entering into bilateral investment treaties.

The 10-member committee also included justice RV Raveendran, retired SC judge; KK Venugopal, attorney general of India; Arghya Sengupta, research director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy; and Suresh Chandra, law secretary.

First Published: Aug 04, 2017 23:44 IST