The Lok Sabha, on August 10, 2018, passed the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (“Bill”) with the aim of improving the arbitration regime and particularly institutional arbitration in India and thereby seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act“).

Key features of the Bill are:

  • Creation of Arbitration Council of India (“ACI”): The ACI shall be formed for grading and accreditation of arbitral institutions to promote and encourage arbitration and other alternate dispute resolution mechanisms;
  • Appointment of Arbitrators: Arbitrators to be appointed by arbitral institutions (as recognized by the ACI) designated by the Supreme Court (for international commercial arbitrations) or the High Court (in other cases). An application for appointment of arbitrators is to be disposed of within 30 days.
  • Relaxation of time limits: Under Section 29A of the Act, arbitral tribunals are required to make their award within a period of 12 months for all arbitration proceedings.  The Bill proposed to remove this time restriction for international commercial arbitrations. The time-period is to be calculated from the date of completion of pleadings.
  • Confidentiality of Arbitral Proceedings: The Bill provides that all details of an arbitral proceedings will be kept confidential except for the details of arbitral award in certain cases. Disclosure of the arbitral award will only be made where it is necessary for implementing or enforcing the award.
  • Applicability of Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015: The Bill clarifies that the Amendment Act shall apply to arbitral proceedings which started on or after October 23, 2015.
  • The Bill provides for a schedule which contains qualifications and experiences of arbitrators to be appointed.

August 18th, 2018