New Delhi: In a bid to upgrade the system of
out-of-court settlements in the country to international
standards and to remove long delays in resolving commercial
disputes, the Law Ministry proposes to amend the relevant law.
According to the consultation paper prepared by the
Ministry, major changes have been suggested in the Arbitration
and Conciliation Act, 1996 dealing with out-of-court
settlement. The document will be released here on Thursday.
Now, any person being approached as an arbitrator will
have to give a "no conflict of interest" declaration.
"The possible arbitrator shall disclose in writing any
past or present relationship, either direct or indirect,
financial, business, professional or social or relationship
with any of the parties involved in the dispute," according to
the consultation paper.
Retired judges taking up arbitration cases to settle
mainly commercial disputes by charging a hefty fee may soon
face fresh regulations, according to one of the proposals.
Seeking to institutionalise arbitration in India as per
international standards and reduce the interference of courts
in the process, the Law Ministry also proposes to amend the
powers of courts to appoint arbitrators.
In case parties have not named an arbitrator, the Chief
Justice -- instead of choosing an arbitrator -- may choose an
institute and the institute will refer the matter to one or
more arbitrators from their panel, the consultation paper
Earlier, the amended Arbitration Law was to be the part
of the High Courts (Commercial Division) Bill, but the idea
was dropped as the Ministry decided to hold consultations on
The High Courts (Commercial Division) Bill was introduced
in the Rajya Sabha recently and was referred to the Standing