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Need to relook arbitration law in India: Ex-Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016,16:41 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | There is a need to have a “second look” into the Arbitration and Conciliation Act to give it some flexibility and having provisions to monitor the performance of the arbitrator, former Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti said today.

“Some flexibility has to be there. We need to have a second look at the provisions of the Act and we must have some Indian version of this world class act,” Lahoti said at a conference here on strengthening arbitration and enforcement in India.

He said the performance of an arbitrator also needed to be monitored and if it is found that the performance or conduct is not upto the mark, the person should not be appointed as an arbitrator in future.

“There is a need for training at the stage of empanelment and look into the performance of an arbitrator,” Lahoti said making a series of suggestions on the issue.

Speaking at the event, Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy said it was “regrettable that some times arbitrators are not quipped with necessary expertise” in field experience to deal with matters.
“It is important and I think the Act should have provided that at least one member of the arbitral panel should have expertise in field experience,” he said.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said to reform the arbitration process in India, “all elements of arbitration, be it good, bad or ugly, have to be in a harmony to make it a successful law”.

He pointed out two problems — lack of uniform approach and non-development of dedicated arbitration bar — in the arbitration process here.

“In India, we have been obsessed with judge-centric arbitration process. In almost all matters, judges are appointed as arbitrators. In one way it is good also that we have faith in judges,” Singhvi said.

He agreed with the view of Justice Lahoti that arbitration centres should be developed here.
“We need to develop arbitration centres. Infrastructure is there for the past 20 years but it is a ghost infrastructure. Operational reality is necessary,” he said at the conference ‘National initiative towards strengthening arbitration and enforcement in India’.