India Amends Arbitration Law: Some Great, Some Absurd Changes

First published on BlogArbitration

The 1996 statute which has been subject of much criticism, sometimes unfairly overstated, has finally been amended through an ordinance which was promulgated on Friday, 23 October. The ordinance is available here.

An amendment has been in the pipeline for longer than one might think, with the first law commission recommendation to amend the 1996 Act coming way back in 2001.

The second attempt began in 2010, eventually leading to another law commission report and recommendation for a new set of amendments proposed about a year ago. The intervening 15 years had seen a complete change in how arbitration was viewed by the courts and by the policy makers in India, and that is reflected in the approach the two law commissions took – one in 2001 and the other in 2015.

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Bhatia International Ratio under the Scanner at Indian Supreme Court

First published on BlogArbitration

As reported earlier, a five judge constitutional bench of the Indian Supreme Court has started hearing arguments in the widely followed review of the Bhatia Internationalratio. I review here, some of the most important arguments made in favour of confirming the ratio.

This decision of a three member bench of the Supreme Court had allowed for application of Part I of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Indian Act”) to arbitration seated outside India. Before moving on with the post, let me lay some background for those not initiated with the controversy, so that you follow the issues in contention in the present review

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Proposed Amendments to the Indian Arbitration Act: A Fraction of the Whole?

ABSTRACT: The Indian law ministry released a consultation paper in April 2010 inviting comments on proposed amendments to the Indian Arbitration Act. While based on the Model Law, the interpretation of the Indian Act in 15 years since enactment has created serious divergence from transnational standards. A unique absurdity is the delimited application of the Act to even arbitrations seated outside India. Merits review has crept in through innovative means. Public policy defence is read as the repository of all residual powers. The proposals identify the problems, but do they walk the talk? This article analyses the contours of these problems in detail and puts the proposals to test. The conclusion in most cases is that the proposal covers a fraction of the whole issue it attempts to deal with. This article contains suggestions that could help complete the task and align Indian arbitral regime to transnational standards on these issues.

Paper is available here

Indian Supreme Court to Reconsider Bhatia International

First published on BlogArbitration

A three-member bench of the Indian Supreme Court, chaired by the Chief Justice, has referred the Bhatia International ratio for reconsideration to a five-member constitutional bench on 1st November 2011. The Supreme Court has also invited anyone interested in being heard on the issue to file an intervention. The matter is to be placed before the five-member bench on 10th January 2012.

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