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India should aspire to be hub of neutral arbitration: SC Judge A K Sikri

26 September 2015
Economic Times

NEW DELHI: India should aspire to become a hub of neutral arbitration, a Supreme Court judge today said while claiming that most people in the country have immense faith in this alternative form of dispute resolution. 

Speaking at a conference on international arbitration, SC judge Justice A K Sikri referred to a survey that indicated that 80 per cent of individuals still consider arbitration as the preferred system for dispute resolution. 

"There is need for a neutral forum of arbitration and India should aspire to become a hub of neutral arbitration. India needs to send a message that we do not impede on arbitration... Rather here is a country that promotes the arbitration culture," Justice Sikri said. 

He stressed on the need for a time-bound system of arbitration in India and said there should be solutions like introduction of elements of mediation and inquisitorial system in the arbitral process. 

Chairman of International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR), H R Bhardwaj, asserted that it was time for India to join the international high table on arbitration, conciliation and mediation, saying the world is changing and it would not wait for us. 

Former Chairman of Law Commission of India, Justice A P Shah said the culture of arbitration is missing in the country and the attitude towards arbitration is "step-motherly". 

"It is treated as part time practice wherein frequent adjournments, long dates and wasted hearings are common and endemic," Justice Shah said. 

He added that any domestic award is readily set aside by court and over 95 per cent of arbitration in India is ad-hoc, and the existing arbitration institutions are not up to international standards. 

The conference, 'Investment and Commercial Arbitration in India: Prospects and Challenges', was organised by Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution at the Jindal Global Law School in collaboration with ICADR.