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Arbitration has achieved judicial acceptance in India: Justice Surya Kant, Judge, Supreme Court of India

Dec 07, 2019


 Morality may be invoked in arbitral awards: Justice JR Midha, Judge, Delhi High Court

 

NEW DELHI, 7 December 2019: Justice Surya Kant, Judge, Supreme Court of India, today said that arbitration in India has achieved judicial acceptance but the arbitrators need to take care of ethics while conducting the proceedings.

 

Speaking at the conference on 'Arbitration in India: The New Scenario', organized by Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA) at FICCIJustice Kant said that the need for arbitration grew post-1991 after India's integration with the global economy.

 

"Indian courts have developed new attitudes to balance constitutional objectives with economic realities. There is a sea change in the approach of Indian courts towards arbitration. Arbitration has now achieved judicial acceptance in India," he said.

 

Justice Kant, however, flagged some areas of concern related to arbitration. He said the cost factor plays an important role for parties going into arbitration and so it should not be conducted according to the strict procedures of court proceedings.

 

Saying India still lacks enforceability of contracts, he warned about the possibility of arbitration converting into litigation. "Ethics is one area where arbitration institutions need to strengthen themselves. It is necessary to focus on ethics in arbitration given that arbitration to some extent replaces courts," he added.

 

Apart from stressing the importance of ethics, independence and impartiality among the arbitrators, he advocated for institutional arbitration as the ad-hoc arbitration can lead to unpredictability. Arbitration must be taken as a regular profession, he said.

 

Justice JR Midha, Judge, Delhi High Court, spoke about a new procedure he had formulated in Delhi High Court, which is expected to revolutionize the enforcement of arbitral awards.

 

Stressing on the need to invoke morality or justice in setting aside arbitral awards, he said, "When we are hearing an appeal against a civil decree and order, we are not supposed to look at the morality. We are supposed to look only at legality. But arbitration awards should be put at a higher pedestal."

 

The ultimate purpose of every judicial proceeding is to find the truth and then do justice, he added.

 

Mr NG Khaitan, President, ICA, said, "All stakeholders must take arbitration as serious business to overcome one of the hindrances to ease of doing business in India and to overcome delay in enforcement of contracts."