The Parliament on Thursday passed a Bill to set up an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalised domestic and international arbitration in India.
The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill, 2019, which seeks to replace an ordinance issued in March this year by the previous government, was passed by Rajya Sabha on Thursday. The Bill was already passed by Lok Sabha on July 10.
The Bill provides for setting up an independent and autonomous regime for institutionalised domestic and international arbitration and to 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 Upper House also passed the amendment in the the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill Act, 2019, which seeks to make changes in the existing law of 1996. It will now go to Lok Sabha for clearance.
The Bill was earlier passed by Lok Sabha in August 2018, but could not be passed by Rajya Sabha, and lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said the government intends to make India a hub of domestic and international arbitration by bringing in changes in law for faster resolution of commercial disputes.
The minister said the amendment Bill has been prepared on the basis of recommendations of a high-powered committee, which held consultations with all stakeholders.
Initiating the debate on the two Bills together, Prasad said the changes in law are for establishing Arbitration Council of India headed by retired judges. “The two legislations are order of the day to take India forward,” he said.
The Congress alleged that the proposed Arbitration Council would be a “sarkari”council and accused the government of making a “brazen” attempt to take over the process.
The opposition party also demanded that the members of the Council be appointed by a collegium since the government is itself a “relentless litigant”.
Trinamool Congress MPs staged a walkout to protest against proposed changes in arbitration laws, which they termed “draconian”. Prashant Nanda of the BJD supported the Bill, saying if India wanted to excel at the global level, a centre was needed for quick redressal of money related grievances.
Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of the JD(U) said the Bill will strengthen an alternative dispute redressal system.
Meanwhile, K Somaprasad of the CPM demanded that the chairman of the Arbitration Centre be a Supreme Court or High Court judge and not a political appointee.