The government and all the stakeholders need to do more to make India a hub of international commercial arbitration and it is also essential that the arbitration law is aligned with the contemporary practice, speakers at a seminar, including Supreme Court judges Justice Bela Trivedi and Justice MR Shah said here on Saturday.
Speaking at the inaugural session of a seminar on international commercial arbitration, Justice Trivedi rued that despite an effective dispute resolution process, arbitration is being hampered by "delays, high costs, frequent and sometimes unwarranted judicial interruptions at different stages".
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta suggested an "arbitration township" with the country's framework that "need not be specific to any model but acceptable to the world community".
Justice Trivedi also called for the removal of shortcomings and lacuna in implementing and operating the law on arbitration at the earliest to achieve the desired result.
Justice MR Shah said that the international market is not yet accepting the Indian institution for commercial arbitration, and underlined the need for a change in the attitude and also introspection by stakeholders as to where they are missing and failing.
Referring to Justice BN Srikrishna (retd) Committee, constituted by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice to review the institutionalisation of arbitration mechanism and suggest reforms, Justice Trivedi said while it made several recommendations some of the amendments have not yet come into force.
"The committee made several important recommendations but I was just telling Tusharbhai Mehta (Solicitor General of India) that some of the amendments have still not come into force and the government has not notified, like an arbitration commission," she said.
Justice Trivedi said though the government is committed it needs to do more in this regard.
"If we want to make India the hub of international commercial arbitration, all stakeholders will have to put their heads together and walk an extra mile. According to me, any system or any mechanism to succeed needs proper statutory backing and also the commitment and accountability of the people who run the institution ," she said.
Justice Trivedi also called for the need to remove "shortcomings and lacuna" in implementing and operating the Arbitration and Conciliation Act effectively.
"Sometimes I wonder whether arbitration failed in India or has India failed arbitration. There are many challenges to the implementation of the Act effectively.
"When we are here to find a way forward, we must look back and find out the pitfalls and drawbacks of our system which have failed us to maintain the pace with our counterparts in the world," she said.
Speaking on the occasion, Justice Shah said that with India being a promising destination for foreign investment, it is essential that its arbitration law is aligned with the contemporary practice.
"Unfortunately, the international market is not accepting Indian institutions and the system as a whole, he said.
"...We have to change our attitude. We have to accept, we have to think ...where are we lacking, where are we missing, where are we failing, so that we do not match with their standards," Justice Shah said.
"We can provide for a township at a place where people would like to come. We can provide an arbitration model which takes the best of both or all the systems of arbitration prevailing in the world," he said.
Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar said there is a "paradigm shift" in India and across the globe from ad hoc to institutionalised arbitration.
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