Union Government on 29 December 2016 constituted a High-Level Committee (HLC) to review institutionalisation of Arbitration Mechanism in India.
The committee constituted in the Ministry of Law and Justice will be chaired by Justice BN Srikrishna, Retired Judge of Supreme Court. In addition to this, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs will be the member secretary of the committee.
The Committee will have to submit its report within a period of 90-days.
Terms of reference for the committee are
• Review and analyse the effectiveness of existing arbitration mechanism.
• Review the resources, facilities, funding and manpower of existing ADR institutions.
• Review working of the institutions that is funded by the Union Government for arbitration purposes.
• It will also assess the skill gaps in ADR and allied institution for both international and national arbitration.
• It will evaluate information outreach and efficacy of the legal framework for arbitration that exists at present.
• Based on the abovementioned, the committee will also
a) Suggest measures for the institutionalisation of arbitration mechanism, national and international, in India so as to make the country a hub of international commercial arbitration.
b) To encourage International Commercial Arbitration (ICA), it will identify the required amendments in other laws that are needed.
c) It will also formulate an action plan for implementation of the law to ensure speedier arbitrations.
d) It will also recommend revision of institutional rules and regulations and their funding support.
e) Advice on empanelment of international and national arbitrators for time bound arbitral proceedings will be given by the committee.
f) It will also suggest a road map for strengthening of R&D (research and development) that impacts the domain.
g) It will enlist the steps that are required for augmenting skill sets and professional manpower buildup for the sector.
h) It will also recommend measures that are required to make arbitration widely available in curricula and study materials.
i) It will have a focus on the role of arbitrations in matters that involve the Union of India like bilateral investment treaties (BIT) arbitrations and make recommendations where necessary.
j) It will evolve an effective arbitration ecosystem that would expedite resolution of international and domestic commercial disputes.
Other members of the committee include
• Justice RV Raveendran, Retired Judge, Supreme Court
• Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Judge, Delhi High Court
• KK Venugopal, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
• PS Narasimha, Addl Solicitor General of India
• Indu Malhotra, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court
• Araghya Sengupta, Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy
• Representative of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
• Representative of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
The committee was formed in line to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 that was passed by the Parliament in December 2016. The act envisages quick enforcement of contracts, reduce the pendency of cases in courts, easy recovery of monetary claims and hasten the process of dispute resolution through arbitration. This will help in encouraging the foreign investment by projecting India as an investor friendly country that has a sound legal framework and ease of doing business in India.
Why was the committee formed?
The committee on institutionalisation of Arbitration Mechanism in India was needed due to the stress on the Justice Dispending System of India and the huge pendency of cases in various courts mainly in cases of injustice faced in commercial disputes, where the cases remain pending for years. The revision of arbitration will help in providing an efficient alternative window for dispute resolution and strengthen the arbitration ecosystem in the country.