Seeking to make India a hub of international and domestic arbitration, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a Bill to set up an independent and autonomous regime for arbitration.
The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill, 2019, seeks to replace an ordinance issued in March this year by the previous government. It would also acquire and transfer undertakings of the International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) to the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) with effect from March 2 this year.
“The existing arbitration body has resolved 45 cases out of 55 in 25 years and 10 cases are still pending,” Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during a debate on the Bill. Observing that a new kind of “imperialism” is taking place, Prasad said there is hardly any instance where an arbitration judgment has gone against American companies. This kind of new imperialism is not acceptable, he said.
The proposed New Delhi International Arbitration Centre will be headed by a chairperson, who has been a judge of the Supreme Court or a judge of a high court or an eminent person having special knowledge and experience in the field.
There is also a provision for appeal and Section 29 deals with the time-frame in which arbitration cases are disposed off, Prasad said, adding that they had to be disposed off within a year.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said he is supporting the Bill because its intent is “commendable” but it appears “ambitious” in terms of execution. He said the government should conceptualise the National Arbitration Policy and strengthen the Indian judicial system.