The judiciary system in India is considered to be complex and time consuming and therefore an alternate method of dispute resolution included in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, came to be enacted. Through this Act, many companies and international corporations have been found to prefer resolving their disputes through the alternate dispute resolution as compared to the traditional avenues. Arbitration resolves disputes away from the courts and allows parties to appoint arbitrators to act as judges, thereby giving them more flexibility.
The Arbitration Act has its own set of procedures that resolve the dispute in an efficient and a speedy manner. The parties can be both Indian companies and/or international companies and are allowed to choose their own convenient time frame and venue.
In a recent Arbitrate in India Conclave 2022 hosted by the Indian Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC), discussions were held regarding making India a hub for conducting international arbitration.
India has not traditionally been a preferred destination for international arbitration mainly due to reasons such as time concerns, extreme judicial intervention, costliness, difficulty in enforcing both domestic and international awards, and the subjective grounds for appeal based on public policy. These are major issues that deter foreign investors and domestic parties from choosing India.
At present, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong are considered as important destinations for commencing international arbitration, for the sole reason that they have speedy and non-complicated methods of resolving disputes.
In the recent bid to make India one of the top places for international arbitration, the government of India has passed the India International Arbitration Centre Act 2019, whereby the main aim of the government is to create an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalized
arbitration and a new center for international arbitration, known as the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre, an institution of national importance.
The Act also specifies the composition of the Center. It states that the Center should include a judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court, two eminent persons having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration, one representative of a recognised body of commerce and industry, one financial advisor and a Chief Executive Officer. The main objective of the center is to bring targeted reforms in order to develop flagship institutions for conducting international and domestic arbitration, promote research and study, provide facilities and administrative assistance for conciliation, mediation and arbitration proceedings, maintain a panel of accredited arbitrators, set up facilities in India and abroad and lay down parameters for different modes of alternative dispute resolution.
The Center is also obligated to establish a Chamber of Arbitration which shall empanel the arbitrators and also scrutinize the application for admission in panel mechanisms being adopted by the Centre. The Chamber shall consist of experienced arbitration practitioners and shall lay down criteria for admission to the panel. The Academy shall train the arbitrators, particularly in the areas of international commercial arbitration, conduct research and provide suggestions. The Academy shall constitute a permanent three member committee in order to suggest any amendments to the Centre.
The Indian government has stressed the importance to make India a hub of institutionalized arbitration and promote the “Ease of Doing Business” in India.
The Union Law Minister has said that the government has been amenable to all suggestions coming from the judiciary and that it is important to go paperless in promoting e-Courts across countries. He underlined that Rs. 7,000 crores have been allocated by the government for the e-Court project.
Further suggestions were also made that the Indian government's Vision for 2030 is to not only make India a hub for international arbitration but to see the arbitration system remain dynamic and amendable to adopting best practices and conscious of time bound final adjudication of contractual disputes.
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