Union Cabinet clears arbitration amendment law

Source: Economic Times

The Union Cabinet on Tuesday cleared a law making amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, almost mirroring an earlier ordinance making arbitration time-bound and fee-bound to ensure faster resolution of commercial disputes at a cheaper rate.

The ordinance had run into problems —over the cap on fees and time to dispose of the cases — from lawyers and judges who felt these were impractical.

The Modi government had then held its hand and not sent the ordinance to the president for his assent. However, this had adversely affected investor confidence both at home and abroad. Keeping this is mind, and accepting Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s suggestions, the Cabinet has now cleared the law incorporating these changes.

The law will have a cap on the time that could be taken by a presiding arbitrator to dispose of a case. It could be nine months, and more with the high Court’s nod. Arbitrator could be also subject to a fee cap of sorts to check costs. The law may also authorise the high court to act against those arbitrators who delay arbitrations.

The Cabinet also cleared a law which will cure pensionary anomalies of high court judges chosen from the bar, giving them 10 years deemed service seniority.

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