New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Setting up of Arbitration Promotion Council of India (APCI), creation of specialist arbitration benches and changes in the Arbitration Act are among the recommendations made by a committee set up by the Law Ministry to review various mechanisms to make India a hub of arbitration.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad while briefing reporters about the recommendations of the committee said the government will take follow-up steps adequately.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken of making India a global hub for arbitration and the committee had been formed as a step in that direction.
The ten-member committee, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice B.N. Srikrishna, submitted its three-part report to Prasad on Thursday, which the Minister termed as “very good”.
“We will see what changes are needed in the law. The proposed changes in arbitration law should not be seen in isolation and are parts of large eco-system of good governance,” the Minister said.
He said the committee has recommended setting up of APCI, an autonomous body, which would have representatives from all stakeholders for grading arbitral institutions in India.
The APCI would recognise professional institutes and provide for accreditation of arbitrators.
Prasad said it would interact with law firms and law schools to train advocates with interest in arbitration to create a specialist arbitration bar comprising advocated dedicated to the field.
He said the committee has also recommended creating specialist arbitration bench to deal with such commercial disputes in the domain of courts.
The committee has proposed further changes to the amendments made in 2015 in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act to make arbitration speedier and more efficacious and incorporate international best practices.
In the second part of the report, the committee reviewed the functioning of International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR), which is working under the aegis of the Law Ministry, and recommended its take-over by statute.
Prasad said the institute has dealt with 22 arbitration cases in 23 years of its existence and has “outlived its utility in present moment.”
The committee has recommended declaring the ICADR as an institution of national importance and noted that a revamped ICADR has potential to be globally competitive.
In the third part, the committee recommended creating post of International Law Adviser (ILA), who will advise the government and coordinate its strategy in disputes arising from its international law obligations, particularly disputes related to bilateral investment treaties (BITs).
The committee has emphasised that ILA may be consulted by the Department of Economic Affairs when entering into BITs.
Officials said that the roadmap of reforms suggested by the committee can result in a paradigm shift from the current perception of delay in resolution of commercial disputes in India to the country being viewed as an investor friendly destination.
They said the suggested reforms will not only lessen the burden of the judiciary but give a fillip to the development agenda of the government, aid the financial strength of the country and serve the goal of welfare of the citizens.
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