Via Rules



PART1: PRELIMINARY

RULE 1: THE CENTRE

Vakeel International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (hereinafter referred to as VIA Mediation Centre) is a non profit unit  promoted by Kalyan Krishna Foundation. The function of the VIA Mediation Centre is to provide for resolution of disputes referred to it by the process of arbitration, mediation, conciliation and other dispute resolution procedures in accordance with these rules, as also to provide administrative services relating to arbitration.


RULE 2: APPLICABILITY OF RULES

These rules shall apply where:
(1) A dispute that has been referred by the Chief Justice of India or his designate for international arbitration, under the Scheme framed by the Chief Justice of India for such purpose whether before or after appointing the Arbitrator(s).

(2) The Chief Justice of any High Court or their respective designates refers a dispute for adjudication by arbitration to the Centre whether before or after appointing the arbitrator(s).

(3) The parties have previously agreed in writing, that any dispute arising between them would be resolved by arbitration under the Rules of the VIA Mediation Centre.

(4) Where any of the High Courts have referred a case for resolution by arbitration to the VIA Mediation Centre, in pursuance of powers conferred on them under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

(5) Where any City Civil Court or any other Court constituting the subordinate judiciary, duly empowered refer a matter for adjudication by arbitration by the VIA Mediation Centre in pursuance of powers conferred on them under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

(6) Where the parties have in writing agreed anytime after the disputes have arisen between them to refer the dispute between themselves to the VIA Mediation Centre for dispute resolution by arbitration.

(7) Where Arbitrators appointed by parties to a dispute, are unable to appoint a Presiding Arbitrator and have approached the VIA Mediation Centre for appointment of a Presiding Arbitrator and the Arbitral Tribunal so constituted, agrees to abide by such appointment by the VIA Mediation Centre and for the adjudication of disputes in accordance with these Rules.

(8) Cases referred by Mediation Centres, Lok Adalats etc., for arbitration in accordance with the Rules of VIA Mediation Centre pursuant to a written agreement by parties, to such effect.

These rules however shall not apply when the parties to a dispute have approached VIA Mediation Centre for administrative assistance alone, unless the parties agree or the Arbitral Tribunal rules, that the arbitration will be conducted in accordance with these rules. In such cases, it shall also be open to the Arbitral Tribunal to specify those rules from and out of the rules set out hereunder, that shall apply.


RULE 3: DEFINITIONS

In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires, the following words shall have the following meaning:-

(1) “Act” means the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and the amendments thereto or any re-enactment thereof.

(2) “Appointing Authority” shall mean and include the authority empowered to appoint the Arbitrator/s or the Presiding Arbitrator/s under these rules.

(3) “Arbitrator/s” shall mean and include the Arbitrators appointed under these rules and where the context so admits, the “Presiding Arbitrator”.

(4) “Arbitral Award” means an award passed by the Arbitral Tribunal consisting of an Arbitrator or Panel of Arbitrators of VIA Mediation Centre and where the context so admits, includes an interim award.

(5) “Arbitral Tribunal” shall mean a sole Arbitrator or a panel of Arbitrators constituted for resolving disputes under these rules and the term “Tribunal” in these rules shall imply the “Arbitral Tribunal” so appointed for determining a particular dispute.

(6) “Board of Directors” shall refer to the Board of Directors of VIA Mediation Centre.

(7) “VIA Mediation Centre” shall mean the “Vakeel International Arbitration and Mediation Centre” and shall include the District Centres or branches thereof;

(8) “Court” means with respect to any matter relating to an arbitration proceeding, the Civil Court within the meaning of Section 2 (e) of the Act.

(9) “Dispute” includes all disputes or differences of any kind whatsoever arising out of contractual relationship between the contesting parties which parties have agreed to refer to Arbitration.

(10) “Director” shall mean and refer to Director of VIA Mediation Centre.

(11) “Governing Council for Arbitration” i.e., shall refer to the Council constituted under Rule 6 of this Rules.

(12) “Guidelines” means the guidelines for assistance of Arbitrators framed by VIA Mediation Centre;

(13) “High Court” shall mean and include the High Courts throughout India;

(14) “Joint Authorization” means an authorization jointly signed by the parties in the format as provided in Schedule - 2 of this Rule .

(15) “Panel of Arbitrators” means the Panel of Arbitrators constituted in accordance with these Rules.

(16) “Party” means a party to an arbitration agreement that has subjected himself / itself to the jurisdiction of the VIA Mediation Centre. He / It shall include any individual, firm, Company, Central or State Government organization or undertaking, Non-Governmental organization, a registered society, public or private trust and any other person having capacity to sue and be sued and any foreign Government, in the case of international arbitration.

(17) "Registrar" means the Registrar for the time being appointed by the Director and includes such other persons as the Director may nominate for carrying out the duties of the Registrar under these rules.

(18) “Request” means a written communication to VIA Mediation Centre to initiate the arbitration proceedings in accordance with these Rules.

(19) “Rules” means these rules framed by VIA Mediation Centre to regulate the process of adjudication of disputes by arbitration and shall include amendments thereto.


RULE 4: SERVICES OFFERED BY THE CENTRE

(1) Appointment of Arbitrator/s, to constitute the Arbitral Tribunal and consequent conduct of Arbitral proceedings.

(2) Appointment of Mediators/Conciliators/Neutrals

(3) Appointment of Presiding Arbitrator and conduct of arbitral proceedings.

(4) Advisory services relating to drafting and registering arbitration agreements with VIA Mediation Centre.

(5) Administrative services including but not limited to:

(a)  Providing arbitration halls,
(b) Secretarial and other support staff assistance,
(c) Any service/s incidental to the conduct of arbitration proceedings.


PART 2: ADMINISTRATION

RULE 5: THE GENERAL BODY

(1) The General Body shall be composed of all the members of VIA Mediation Centre.
(2) Each Member shall be represented in the General Body meeting by one nominee.
(3) The General Body shall meet at least once in a year.


RULE 6: GOVERNING COUNCIL

(1) The Governing Council shall be composed of the following:-
(a) All the Foundation Members;
(b) Members nominated by the Founding Members
(c) Director of the Centre

(2) If any member of the Governing Council dies or desires to retire or refuses to, or becomes incapacitated to, act as a member, or takes the benefit of the insolvency laws, then the Governing Council may declare that a vacancy has arisen in the Governing Council and upon such declaration a vacancy shall be deemed to have arisen.

(3) If at any time any member of Governing Council is required to act as a whole-time officer bearer of the Tribunal or renders any special services in his individual capacity, the Governing Council may at its discretion pay to such member such remuneration or allowance, as it may think appropriate.

(4) The Members of the Governing Body or the Governing Council may be paid or reimbursed out of the funds of the organization such amounts as may be decided by the Governing Council in connection with the work or responsibilities of the organization entrusted to them by the Governing Council.


RULE 7: DIRECTOR

(1) The Director shall be responsible for the day to day functioning of VIA Mediation Centre.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provision in clause( 1),the Director may undertake the following :

(a) Initiate action in accordance with the Rules of VIA Mediation Centre.

(b) Notify the parties to comply with the requirements of filing of the Request the Reply and any other document and the submission and payment of arbitrators’ fees and miscellaneous expenses, within the prescribed time frame.

(c) Maintain and update from time to time a profile of all arbitrators on the Panel of VIA Mediation Centre, and make them available to the parties, on request.

(d) Maintain a fact sheet of each arbitration case dealt with by VIA Mediation Centre.

(e) Carry out directions given by the Arbitration Committee from time to time.

(3) All correspondence and communications to VIA Mediation Centre shall be addressed to the Director and all correspondence and communications on behalf of  VIA Mediation Centre shall be made by the Director / Registrar.

(4) The Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre may also be authorised by VIA Mediation Centre to function as  Director.

(5) The VIA Mediation Centre shall sue or be sued in the name of the Director or Registrar who shall be authorised to represent VIA Mediation Centre in all legal proceedings.



RULE 8: REGISTRAR

(1) The Registrar shall prepare and maintain an up-to-date Panel of Arbitrators together with adequate information as to their qualifications and experience. Separate lists may be kept and maintained of arbitrators included in the Panel for disputes in general and for each of the fields of international trade and/or business transactions in which the Governing Body decides that the Council will offer arbitration facilities under the Rules.

(2)The parties to a dispute or the Registrar where he appoints the arbitrator may choose any person from the panel with reference to any dispute. If any party appoints a foreigner/person residing abroad, as arbitrator from the panel, that party will have to meet the travel & stay expenses of the person appointed as arbitrator at the venue of arbitration. The arbitral tribunal may, however, make any order in regard thereto in the award. The panel of Arbitrators shall be open to inspection by all persons with the permission of the Registrar.


(3) Duties of the Registrar:

(a) The Registrar shall receive applications for arbitration by the Council, receive payment of fees and deposits, appoint, in consultation with the Director, and in his absence in consultation with the member of the Governing Body designated by him, an arbitrator or arbitrators as hereinafter provided.

(b) The Registrar shall also receive all communications made to the arbitral tribunal by the parties and communicate to them the orders and directions of the arbitral tribunal, keep a register of applications to the Council and of awards made by the arbitral tribunal, keep such other books or memoranda and make such other records or returns as the Committee shall from time to time require and generally carry out the directions of an arbitral tribunal so constituted under these rules and take such other steps as may be necessary to assist such arbitral tribunal in the carrying out of its functions.

(c) The Registrar may delegate to any officer of the Council, Chambers of Commerce or Trade Association at the premises of which the arbitration proceedings are taking place, to discharge such of the functions and administrative duties of the Registrar as are deemed proper and necessary from time to time, with reference to a particular case or cases.


RULE 9: RESEARCH ASSISTANTS & INTERNS

Any person holding a Degree in Law from a recognized University and enrolled as an advocate under the Advocates Act, 1961 and who is being in practice for not less than three years and chosen to assist the Directorate and the Arbitrators/Mediators/Conciliators.


RULE 10: WORKING HOURS

(1) An arbitration session of the Arbitral Tribunal will go on as far as possible, for not less than five hours a day with a break for an hour.

(2)As soon as the hearing begins , after completion of all the formalities relating to pleadings, the Arbitral Tribunal shall not ordinarily adjourn a hearing at the request of any party, except where the circumstances are beyond the control of the party and the Arbitral Tribunal is satisfied that the reasons and circumstances for the adjournment are justified.

(3) The main purposes of the arbitration proceeding is expeditious disposal of disputes, parties to a proceeding agree that they shall not seek adjournment, except for unavoidable reasons.




PART 3: MEMBERSHIPS

RULE 11: MEMBERSHIP TYPES & FEES

There shall be the following classes of Members of VIA Mediation Centre:
(1) Foundation Members,
(2) Honorary Members
(3) Panelist Members
(4) Enterprise Members
(5) Individual Members

(1) Foundation members & Fee Structure

Foundation members are the core members of VIA. These are the people who have been associated with us since the very inception of VIA. The foundation members represent the goodwill of the centre. The vision of VIA represents the vision of these members. The foundation members welcome all the other members to the institution and sit in a supervisory position. Foundation members are exempt from payment of any membership fees.

(2) Honorary Membership & Fee Structure

Honorary Members shall be those individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of alternative dispute resolution and who are interested in the promotion of the aims and objects of the Centre and are co-opted as members of Centre. Honorary Members shall be exempted from the payment of any Membership fee but will be entitled to receive all the requisite benefits of membership.

(3) Panel Membership & Fee Structure
  PANEL MEMBERSHIP  for 10 Years (Indian Nationals) PANEL MEMBERSHIP for 10 Years(Foreign Nationals)
MASTER / GRADE A 200000 INR 200OO USD
EXPERT / GRADE B 100000 INR 10000 USD
PREFERRED / GRADE C 50000 INR 5000 USD
(4) Enterprise Membership & Fee Structure

Any association, society, organization, company or firm, interested in the aims and objects of the Centre shall be eligible to be an Institutional Member. The benefits of instuitutional membership are:

  • Members are entitled to 20% reduction on the amount payable for usage of VIA venue halls.
  • Members are further entitled to 20% concession for participation in all conferences, Meetings, Workshops and Seminars.
  • The members shall get a 10% concession on all trainings provided by VIA.
  • The members shall be featured on the website.
  • Once we gather a significant number, we also plan on having an annual directory of members- to be sent to all members and arbitral institutions.
Enterprise Membership

Enterprise  membership is a provided at concessional rates and continues throughout the life of the applying institution. An enterprise shall not cease to be a Member by reason only of any change in the constitution of the enterprise occasioned by the admission or retirement or death of a partner/director provided the business of the company/enterprise continues.

Enterprise Membership Fee Structure 
ENTERPRISE MEMBERSHIP for 10 Years (Indian Enterprises) ENTERPRISE MEMBERSHIP for 10 Years (Foreign Enterprises)
100000 (INR) 10000 (USD)

 

(5) Individual Membership & Fee Structure

Individual Membership applications from general persons, lawyers, practitioners etc. Any individual, having experience of and/or interested in matters relating to alternative dispute resolution shall be eligible to be an individual member. The persons who want to be individual members with VIA can apply. The benefits of membership are:

  • Members are entitled to 20% reduction on the amount payable for usage of VIA venue halls.
  • Members are further entitled to 20% concession for participation in all conferences, Meetings, Workshops and Seminars.
  • The members shall get a 10% concession on all trainings provided by VIA.
  • The members shall be featured on the website.
Individual Membership

Individual membership is a provided at concessional rates and continues during the tenure if individual membership. The individual shall have to make a payment of Rs. 50,000/- and he/she shall be eligible for all membership associated benefits. Individual membership is a hassle free experience and ensures prolonged association on payment of a nominal amount.

Individual Membership Fee Structure
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP for 10 Years (Indian Nationals) INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP for 10 Years (Foreign Nationals)
50000 (INR) 5000 (USD)
 


RULE 12: TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIPS

(1)Save as otherwise provided, a member shall not cease to be an Associate Member by reason only of any change in the constitution of VIA Mediation Centre occasioned by the admission or retirement or death.
(2) A member shall cease to be Member of VIA Mediation Centre on the happening of any one of the following events, namely:-
(a) his death/or on its/his resignation being accepted by the Governing Council;
(b) dissolution/sticking off of the enterprise;
(c) the Governing Council declaring that the Member has ceased to possess the eligibility qualification for the membership;
(d) his becoming of unsound mind, or his being declared insolvent or his being convicted of a criminal offence involving moral turpitude;
(e) termination of his nomination by the concerned Government or Organisation; or
(f) the Governing Council declaring that his/its continuance as a member is prejudicial to the interest of VIA Mediation Centre.




PART 4: JURISDICTION OF SERVICES

RULE 13: DOMESTIC

Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Part or in any other law for the time being in force, where with respect to an arbitration agreement any application under this Part has been made in a Court, that Court alone shall have jurisdiction over the arbitral proceedings and all subsequent applications arising out of that agreement and the arbitral proceedings shall be made in that Court and in no other Court.


RULE 14 : INTERNATIONAL


PART 5: EMPANELMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS OF NEUTRALS

RULE 15: GRADE A / MASTER PANEL

The master panel consists of panelists who are well experienced in respective fields. The master panel provides the highest level of expertise on the subject . Master Panel services are the most recommended ones when the quantum of claim is high and the stakes involved are too much. Experience counts and that is what this panel offers. The idea is to include highest level of experience from every sector so as to provide value with variety.

 Model Eligibility
             (a)  Retired Supreme Court/High Court Judge of India
             (b)  Designated Senior Advocate
             (c)   Attorney-General / Auditor-General,
             (d)  Retired Field Marshal/General or equivalent in Defence Sector
    (e) Professionals/Employees minimum 20 Years of experience
   (f)Any other similar or comparable equivalent qualifications subject to the approval of VIA Mediation Centre.
(g) Equivalent qualifications for panellist members outside India
             


RULE 16: GRADE B /EXPERT PANEL

The expert panel is highly recommended for parties who need specialist knowledge to go on with the ADR proceedings or where the nature of case is such as to demand specialised ADR knowledge. The expertise of the panel caters to your specific needs and makes sure you get the best deal out of it.

(1) Model Eligibility
(a) Retired District Court Judge
(b) Advocate with minimum 15 Years of Practice
(c) Professionals/Employees minimum 15 Years of experience
(d) Retired IAS/IPS Officer
(e) Brigadier/Colonel or equivalent in Defence Sector
(f) Any other similar or comparable equivalent qualifications subject to the approval of VIA Mediation Centre.
(g) Equivalent qualifications for panellist members outside India


RULE 17: GRADE C / PREFERRED PANEL

Preferred Panel consists of people trained/know ledged to be panellists. This panel is most recommended for a low profile/low key or regular consignment cases that does not need specific experience or expertise. The special training imparted to these by helps and ensures effective dispute resolution.

(1) Model Eligibility
(a) Retired Civil Judicial Magistrate/Metropolitan Magistrate
(b) Advocate with minimum 10 Years of Practice
(c) Professional/Employee/Other minimum 10 Years of experience
(d) Retired Group I or Group II Officer
(e) Retired Major/Captain equivalent in Defence Sector
(f) Any other similar or comparable qualifications subject to the approval of VIA Mediation Centre.
(g) Equivalent qualifications are expected for Panellist Members Outside India


PART 6A: ARBITRATION COMMENCEMENT

RULE 18: NOTICE AND COMMUNICATION

(1) For the purposes of these Rules, any notice, communication or proposal, shall be in writing. Any such written communication may be delivered in person, sent by registered/ recorded post with acknowledgment due, sent via courier service with proof of delivery or transmitted by any form of electronic communication (including electronic mail and facsimile) or delivered by any other means that provides an independent record of its delivery.

(2) The notice, communication, or proposal is deemed to have been received on the day it is delivered. In the absence of proof of delivery, 14 days from the date of dispatch of the communication shall imply completion of delivery. It shall be the sole and exclusive responsibility of the claimant or the concerned party on whose behalf any communication needs to be dispatched by VIA Mediation Centre, to furnish accurate and complete address and e-mail ID for communication of the concerned party to whom such communication needs to be dispatched by VIA Mediation Centre. The Registry shall not assume responsibility for any wrong or erroneous address or email-id furnished by the claimant or any other concerned party.

(3) For the purpose of calculating any period of time under these Rules, such period shall begin to run on the day following the day when a notice or communication or proposal is deemed to have been received. If the last day of such period is not a business day at the place of receipt pursuant to Rule 1 stated above, the period is extended until the first business day which follows. Non-business days occurring during the running of the period of time are included in calculating the period.

(4) The parties shall file with the Registrar a copy of any notice, communication or proposal concerning the arbitral proceedings with necessary proof of dispatch and delivery.


RULE 19: NOTICE OF ARBITRATION

(1) A party wishing to commence arbitration (the "Claimant") shall file with the Registrar the following:
(a) A case submission for alternate dispute resolution through arbitration/mediation/conciliation or Claim Statement as per Schedule 4 of these rules, in duplicate, either through him or through his duly authorised legal representative along with the instrument conferring such authority on the legal representative by the Claimant, duly signed, stamped and attested as per the applicable law of the Claimant’s place of residence/ domicile, as per the above referred to these Rules, and also specifying whether the Claimant wishes to opt for Online Arbitration, provided it fulfills the necessary criteria to do so;

 (b) A letter addressed to the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre either by the claimant or through its authorised legal representative, giving the names, addresses, telephone number, facsimile number and e-mail ID, if known, of the parties to the arbitration and their representatives, if any; and the need to appoint an arbitrator and specifically disclosing the fact that the parties to the dispute have agreed to resolve their disputes through VIA Mediation Centre with a reference to the arbitration clause or the separate arbitration agreement that is invoked;
 (c) A copy of a reference to the contract out of or in relation to which the dispute arises;
 (d) A copy of the legal notice or demand letter for appointment of a VIA Mediation Centre empanelled arbitrator, if any;
 (e) If  possible, a copy of a proposal for the number of arbitrator(s) if this is not specified in the arbitration agreement;
 (f) Any comment as to the applicable rules of law;
 (g) Any comment as to the language of the arbitration;
 (h) Proof of payment of the requisite filing fee.
 (i) Along with the claim statement, the party shall file the documents in support of the Claim Statement and list of witnesses.

(2) The Registry may insist on a soft copy of the claim statement and documents in the form of a non editable/erasable digital storage device capable of being read such as Compact Disc (CD) or Digital Video Disc (DVD) or similar devices, which shall be free from any virus and/or other malware. The Registry may insist upon additional copies of the claim statement with all supporting documents and list of witnesses of the claimant.

(3) The date of receipt of the complete Claim Statement by the Registrar shall be deemed to be the date of commencement of the arbitration for the purpose of limitation.

(4) The Registry shall scrutinize the claim statement and documents filed by the claimant in accordance with this Rules 19 (1) and 19 (2) mentioned above and inform the Claimant about any defects that need to be rectified and upon the Claimant rectifying all such defects pointed out by the Registry, the Registry shall communicate the cost of communication to the Claimant, which the Claimant shall deposit with the Registry and on receipt of the same, the Registry shall proceed to notify the parties on the commencement of arbitration.

(5) If the claimant has proposed the name of any VIA Mediation Centre empanelled arbitrator in its legal notice or demand letter for appointment of arbitrator, the Registry shall refer to panel of Arbitrators, enquire with such empanelled arbitrator his willingness to function as an arbitrator for that dispute. If the arbitrator declines to function as an Arbitrator or if such a person has ceased to be on panel of VIA Mediation Centre, the Registry may ignore such a proposal of the claimant and may choose an appropriate arbitrator from its Panel.

(6) The Registry shall send the notice along with the claim petition and complete set of documents and list of witnesses, if any, to the respective parties by registered post with acknowledgment due or by courier with proof of delivery along with the name of the arbitrator, if any, proposed by the claimant. Copies of the notice shall be sent by e-mail to the respondents, wherever such information is available.


RULE 20: RESPONSE TO THE NOTICE OF ARBITRATION

The Respondent shall send to the Claimant its response, containing the statement of objections, if any, within 21 days of receipt of the Notice of Arbitration, if any. The statement of objection shall be as per Schedule 5 and shall contain:

(a) an admission or denial of all or part of the claims;

(b) a brief statement describing the nature and circumstances of any counterclaim, specifying the relief claimed and, where possible, an initial quantification of the counterclaim amount;

(c) any comment in response to any statements contained in the Notice of Arbitration under Rule 19 or any comment with respect to the matters covered in such rules; and

(d) unless the parties have agreed otherwise and where the Arbitration Agreement provides for three arbitrators, the statement of objections shall be accompanied by a memo containing the Respondent’s nomination for an arbitrator, or, if the arbitration agreement provides for a sole arbitrator, indication of the Respondent’s agreement with Claimant’s proposal for a sole arbitrator or a counter-proposal.
   (2) The response may also include a statement of counterclaim, as referred to
in rule 43.
(3) The Respondent shall, at the same time, send a copy of the response to
the Registrar, together with the payment of the requisite filing fee for any counterclaim, and shall notify the Registrar of the mode of service of the response employed and the date of service.
(4) When advocates are engaged by the respondent, the respective counsel shall lodge a letter of authorization as per Schedule 6 of these rules, for his respective client.


RULE 21: APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATORS/PRESIDING ARBITRATORS

(1) A sole arbitrator shall be appointed unless the parties have agreed otherwise.

(2) If the parties have agreed that any arbitrator is to be appointed by one or more of the parties, or by any third person including the arbitrators already appointed, that agreement shall be treated as an agreement to nominate an arbitrator under these Rules.

(3) In all cases, the arbitrators nominated by the parties shall be from the panel of arbitrators of VIA Mediation Centre. In the event of any non-panelist Arbitrator is to be appointed by the parties, his appointment shall be subject to him agreeing in writing to follow and adopt these Rules and further subject to the approval of the Director. The Director may grant such approval solely at his discretion.

(4) The Director shall appoint an arbitrator as soon as practicable. Any decision by the Director to appoint an arbitrator under these Rules shall be final.

(5) The Director is entitled in his discretion to appoint any nominee whose appointment has already been suggested or proposed by any party.
(6) The terms of appointment of each arbitrator shall be fixed by the Registrar in accordance with these Rules and Practice Notes for the time being in force, or in accordance with the agreement of the parties.


RULE 22: SOLE ARBITRATOR

1)  If a sole arbitrator is to be appointed, either party may propose to the other the names of one or more persons, one of whom would serve as the sole arbitrator. Where the parties have reached an agreement on the name of a sole arbitrator, Rule 21(3)   shall apply.

 2) If within 21 days after receipt by the Registrar of the Notice of Arbitration, the parties have not reached an agreement on the nomination of a sole arbitrator, or if at any time either party so requests, the Director shall make the appointment as soon as may be practicable.


RULE 23: THREE ARBITRATORS

    1) If three arbitrators are to be appointed, each party shall nominate one arbitrator.

    2) If a party fails to make a nomination of an arbitrator within 21 days after receipt of a party’s nomination, the Director shall proceed to appoint the arbitrator on its behalf.

    3) Unless the parties have agreed upon another procedure for appointing the third arbitrator, or if such agreed procedure does not result in a nomination within the reasonable time limit fixed by the parties or by the Centre, the third arbitrator, who shall act as the presiding arbitrator, shall be appointed by the Director.



RULE 24: MULTI-PARTY APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATOR

1) Where there are more than two parties in the arbitration, and three arbitrators are to be appointed, the Claimants shall collectively nominate one arbitrator and the Respondents shall collectively nominate one arbitrator. In the absence of such collective nominations being made within 28 days of the filing of the Notice of Arbitration or within the period agreed by the parties, the Director shall appoint all three arbitrators and shall designate one of them to act as the presiding Arbitrator. The Director is empowered to exercise his discretion in nominating such arbitrator who has been recommended by any of the parties, severally or collectively.

2) Where a sole arbitrator is to be appointed in a dispute involving more than two parties, all parties shall agree on a common arbitrator. In the absence of such a joint nomination within 28 days of the dispatch of the Notice of Arbitration or within the period agreed by the parties under an agreement for arbitration, the Director shall appoint the sole arbitrator.

3) The appointment of any such Arbitrator appointed by the Director shall not be questioned by the parties, except on grounds of challenge as per Rule 37.


RULE 25: PARTIES APPROACHING THE CENTRE FOR APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATOR

1) Where the parties to a dispute arising out of an agreement or other arrangement (in which the VIA Mediation Centre is not named as the appointing authority) or any of them approach VIA Mediation Centre for assistance in the matter of appointment of Arbitrator/s pursuant to an agreement amongst them, the following procedure shall be applied in the matter of appointment of Arbitrator/s.
 (a) The VIA Mediation Centre shall obtain the consent of all parties to the dispute in writing to act as appointing authority.
 (b) It shall assist the parties, within fifteen days of obtaining the consent of the concerned parties to choose a mutually agreed Arbitrator.
 (c) If the parties cannot mutually agree to the appointment of an agreed Arbitrator, the Centre shall within a further period of ten days from the period mentioned in clause (ii) above, appoint an Arbitrator from and out of the panel maintained by VIA Mediation Centre and the Arbitrator so appointed shall also be duly intimated in accordance with these rules. The parties will also be accordingly intimated.


RULE 26: APPOINTMENT WHERE VIA MEDIATION CENTRE IS NAMED AS APPOINTING AUTHORITY IN AGREEMENT

1) Where VIA Mediation Centre is named as the appointing authority in the agreement governing the parties, the following procedure shall be followed in the matter of appointment of Arbitrator/s.
(a) Within fifteen days of receipt of a request from any party to a dispute arising out of an agreement in which VIA Mediation Centre is named as an appointing authority, it shall appoint an Arbitrator from its panel mutually acceptable to the parties.

 (b) If within fifteen days from receipt of request from one party to the dispute, a mutually agreed Arbitrator cannot be appointed then the VIA Mediation Centre shall proceed to appoint a single Arbitrator within a further period of ten days. The VIA Mediation Centre in accordance with these rules shall then convene the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal.


RULE 27: OTHER COURTS/AUTHORITIES REFERRING MATTERS TO VIA MEDIATION CENTRE

1) Where the High Court or any Court or other authority refers a matter to the VIA Mediation Centre for suggesting names of an Arbitrator / Arbitrators or Presiding Arbitrator, the following procedure shall apply:-

 (a) If within fifteen days from receipt of appropriate directions from the High Court, Other Court or other authority, or such other time as the court may have fixed a mutually agreed Arbitrator cannot be suggested then VIA Mediation Centre shall proceed within a further period of ten days or such other time as the court may have fixed to suggest a single Arbitrator and duly inform the court of such appointment. VIA Mediation Centre in accordance with these rules shall then convene the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal within 30 days of receiving appropriate orders from the High Court, Subordinate Courts or other authorities for such appointment, or such other time as the court may have fixed.


RULE 28: ARBITRATORS APPOINTED BY PARTIES APPROACHING CENTRE FOR APPOINTMENT OF PRESIDING ARBITRATOR

(1) Where two or more Arbitrators appointed by parties to a dispute approach VIA Mediation Centre for appointment of the Presiding Arbitrator, the following procedure shall be followed:-

 (a) Within fifteen days of receipt of a joint request from Arbitrators appointed to resolve a dispute arising out of an agreement between parties, VIA Mediation Centre shall endeavor to appoint an Arbitrator from its panel mutually acceptable to the Arbitrators appointed by the parties.

 (b) If within fifteen days from receipt of request from the Arbitrators appointed by parties, a mutually agreed Presiding Arbitrator cannot be appointed then VIA Mediation Centre shall proceed to appoint a Presiding Arbitrator within a further period of ten days. The Centre in accordance with these rules shall then convene the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal.


RULE 29: SEAT AND VENUE OF ARBITRATION

 1) The parties may agree on the Seat of arbitration to be anywhere, including any place outside India. Failing such an agreement, the Seat of arbitration shall be at a place that the Registrar may decide, having regard to all the circumstances of the case.

 2) The Tribunal may hold hearings and meetings in such manner as it considers expedient or appropriate and at any location it considers convenient or appropriate.

3) For International Arbitration, without taking away the international character of the Arbitration, the parties may agree to have the seat of Arbitration anywhere outside India, but have the venue in India. For example, the contract or agreement for reference may contain the following Clause “The Seat of Arbitration shall be (New York/ London/ Singapore); however, the venue of Arbitration can be in any country including India as may be mutually agreed by the parties.”


RULE 30: LANGUAGE OF ARBITRATION

 1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the language of Arbitration shall be English.

 2) If a document is written in a language other than English, the Registrar may order the party relying on such document to submit a translated version of the said document, duly attested as true, by the counsel representing the concerned party. However VIA Mediation Centre shall not vouch for the authenticity of any such translation and if any party is not satisfied with the same, he may file his version of a duly certified translation and it is up to the tribunal to decide on the authenticity of the respective versions.

 3) The tribunal may at the request and cost of a party, refer any document for translation into English, by any independent persons or entity. The parties shall not question the authenticity of the translation.


RULE 31: ADDITIONAL POWERS OF THE TRIBUNAL

1) In addition to the powers specified in these Rules and not in derogation of the mandatory rules of law applicable to arbitration, the Tribunal shall have the power to:

 (a) Interpret any contract, only to the extent required to rectify any mistake, which it determines to have been made by all the parties to that contract.

 (b) Upon the application of a party, allow one or more third parties to be joined in the arbitration, provided that such person is a party to the arbitration agreement, with the written consent of such third party, and thereafter make a single final award or separate awards in respect of the concerned parties;
 (c) except as provided in Rules 65, 68 and 69, extend or abbreviate any time limits provided by these Rules or by its directions;

 (d) conducts such enquiries as may appear to the Tribunal to be necessary or expedient;


RULE 32: JURISDICTION OF THE TRIBUNAL AND LIMITATION

 1) The jurisdiction of the Tribunal shall not be restricted to geographical limits and depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case and the parties involved, a Tribunal may be classified as an international arbitral Tribunal. The Tribunal shall have the power to rule on its own jurisdiction and on the question of limitation, including any objections with respect to the existence, termination or validity of the arbitration agreement. For that purpose, an arbitration agreement which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract. A decision by the Tribunal that the contract is null and void shall not entail ipso jure the invalidity of the arbitration agreement.

 2) A plea that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to try a dispute shall be raised before or at the time of filing of the Statement of Objections.

 3) If any party desires to oppose the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain any dispute raised in the counterclaim, a plea on maintainability of such a counter claim shall be filed within 15 days from the date of receipt of the counterclaim.

 4) A plea that the Tribunal is exceeding the scope of its jurisdiction shall be raised promptly after the Tribunal has indicated its intention to decide on the matter alleged to be beyond the scope of its jurisdiction.

 5) The Tribunal may nevertheless admit a late plea under this Rule if it is satisfied about the cause of delay, provided that necessary application is made by the concerned party explaining the cause of delay, supported by an affidavit of such party.

 6) A party is not precluded from raising any plea mentioned in above clause or rule 2, 3 and 4 merely because he has nominated or participated in the nomination of an arbitrator.

 7) The Tribunal may rule on a plea referred to above mentioned clause or Rule 2 either as a preliminary question or in an award on the merits.

 8) A party may rely on a claim or defence for the purpose of a set-off to the extent permitted by the applicable law.


PART 6B: ARBITRATION PROCEDURE

RULE 33 : REFERENCE TO ARBITRATION

1) Where parties to a contract have agreed that any dispute or difference which may arise or has arisen, out of or in relation to a contract, shall be referred to Arbitration in accordance with these Rules, the same shall be referred accordingly.

 2) Where the parties sign a joint authorization agreeing that their dispute shall be referred to Arbitration in accordance with these Rules or when the same is so referred through any proceedings in any Court, including:

 3) Under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; or

 4) These Rules shall also apply where the Chief Justice or his designate or any court appoints an Arbitral Tribunal and directs that the arbitration shall be conducted under the aegis of the Centre or in accordance with its rules. Or

 5) Where parties have entered into an Arbitration agreement in any of the modes specified in Section 7 of the Act agreeing to refer their disputes to arbitration in accordance with the Rules of VIA Mediation Centre. Or

 6) Where parties to any International contract,have agreed to submit their disputes or differences to Arbitration in accordance with these rules.


RULE 34: REQUEST TO ARBITRATION

  1) Any person desirous of initiating arbitration under these rules, shall submit his/its Request to the Registrar with a copy marked to the opponent / the other party to the dispute.
 
  2) The Request shall contain the following information:

 (a) Name in full, description, contact details and address of each of the parties, complete details including email addresses, if any;
 (b) A brief description of the nature and circumstances of the dispute giving rise to the claim;
 (c) Statement of the relief sought, including an indication of any amount claimed along with supporting documents, if any;
 (d) Relevant agreements and, in particular, the Contract in respect of which disputes have arisen an extract of the written arbitration clause or the deed of arbitration agreement, if separately contained.
 (e) Provisional Terms of Reference and the issues to be adjudicated;
 (f) All relevant particulars concerning the Arbitrators, their number, qualifications, if any, prescribed in the arbitration agreement on which parties have already agreed in writing;
 (g) Statements as to the applicable Rules or laws, if any, and the language in which the arbitration is to be conducted, and
 (h) The order of the Court, if any, passed in proceedings referred to in these Rules.

   (3) On receipt of the Request of the party, the Secretariat shall scrutinize the same and if found in order, shall constitute the Arbitral Tribunal in accordance with the agreement of the parties and the rules of VIA Mediation Centre.

   (4)   The Party making the Request shall submit sufficient number of copies of the Request as stipulated by VIA Mediation Centre, being one copy for the VIA Mediation Centre, one copy for each Arbitrator (if the number of Arbitrators is mentioned in the arbitration agreement) and one copy for each Respondent.

   (5) The Party shall also make a tentative advance payment of his share of the administrative and miscellaneous expenses and also the Arbitrator’s fee, as the Centre may indicate based on the scale of fees and charges fixed under the Rules.
 
(6) In the event that the Party fails to comply with any of the aforesaid requirements, the Secretariat may fix a time limit within which the Party shall comply, failing which, the file shall be deemed to be closed. However, it is open for such Party to submit the claim afresh in accordance with law.

(7) The Centre shall send a copy of the Request, at the earliest to the other Party for his / their Reply to the Request.

(8) Where a document is sent by post:-
 (a) Service thereof shall be deemed to be effected by properly addressing, prepaying and posting a letter containing the documents and

 (b) Such service shall be deemed to have been effected at the expiration of forty eight hours after the letter containing the same is posted and in any other case, at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary course of post.

(9) The arbitral proceedings in respect of a particular dispute commences on the date on which a Request for that dispute to be referred to arbitration is received by the other Party to the dispute. In the event of there being multiple parties, such commencement shall be deemed to take place on the date when the first of the parties so receives the Request.

(10)(a) Any written communication is deemed to have been received if it is delivered to the addressee personally or at his place of business, habitual residence or mailing address, and

(b) If none of the places referred to in point 10(a) above can be found after making a reasonable inquiry, written communication is deemed to have been received if it is sent to the addressee’s last known place of business, habitual residence or mailing address by registered letter or by any other means which provides a record of the attempt to deliver it.


RULE 35: NORMS FOR APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATOR

In applying the provisions of Rule 21 set out above, VIA Mediation Centre shall ensure that if the parties have not previously agreed on the number of Arbitrators (i.e., one or three) and a request is received for appointment of Arbitrator/s by VIA Mediation Centre, then VIA Mediation Centre shall (as a rule) appoint a single Arbitrator in consonance with these rules. If the parties to the dispute, however, jointly request appointment of three Arbitrators or the agreement between the parties so specifies, then each of the parties shall nominate an Arbitrator from the panel maintained by VIA Mediation Centre and VIA Mediation Centre shall appoint the Presiding Arbitrator. In all cases, the Tribunal shall consist of an odd number of Arbitrators.


RULE 36: CONSTITUTION OF THE ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL AND CHALLENGES THERETO

 1) Within the period and in the manner set out in Rule 21 above, VIA Mediation Centre shall ensure that first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal is held within 30 days from the date of the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal.

 2) The Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre shall ensure that before the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal is held all papers filed by the parties with VIA Mediation Centre are forwarded to the Arbitral Tribunal.

 3) A challenge to the appointment of the Arbitrator/s whether for alleged lack of independence or otherwise shall be made in writing specifying the facts and circumstances on which the challenge is based to the Registrar for Arbitration. The challenge shall be forwarded to the Director for Arbitration by the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre.

 4) A party may challenge the Arbitrator appointed by the other party/parties or Arbitrator/s or Presiding Arbitrator appointed by VIA Mediation Centre only for reasons which he becomes aware of after the appointment has been made.

 5) For a challenge to be admissible, it must be sent within 15 days from receipt of the notice of appointment or confirmation of the Arbitrator/s or Presiding Arbitrator or within 15 days from the date that the party making the challenge was in receipt of information of the facts and circumstances on which the challenge is based, if such latter date is subsequent to the receipt of the aforementioned notification.

 6) The Registrar for Arbitration shall decide on the admissibility and at the same time, if need be on the merits of a challenge after the parties and the arbitrator in issue and any other members of the Arbitral Tribunal have been accorded an opportunity to comment in writing within a fixed/suitable period of time. If the Registrar for Arbitration finds prima facie merit in the objection, it shall direct VIA Mediation Centre not to hold the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal or further sittings till such objection is disposed of.

 7) When the appointment of an Arbitrator has been challenged by one party on any ground the other party may concede to the challenge, following which the Arbitrator concerned may be removed by the Registrar. The Arbitrator concerned may also after the challenge is made, withdraw from his office and communicate to the Registrar accordingly. In neither case does this imply acceptance of the validity of the grounds for the challenge. The Registrar, if finds the objection to the appointment to be valid, shall take appropriate steps to replace the Arbitrator/s whose appointment has been challenged.

 8) If the Registrar finds no merit in the challenge, he will intimate by an order, the parties and Arbitrator/s accordingly and the Registrar shall then proceed to fix the date of the next sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal.

 9) An Arbitrator shall be replaced by the Registrar upon death, upon the acceptance by the Registrar for Arbitration of a challenge in any manner set out in rules above or upon the acceptance by the Registrar for Arbitration of the Arbitrator’s resignation for any reason whatsoever. Further, in the event the Arbitrator/s fails or is unable to act and a complaint to that effect has been received from any of the parties, the procedure in respect of the challenge and replacement of an Arbitrator/s as provided earlier will apply.

 10) In the event of any change in the Constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal, the proceedings completed till the date of reconstitution will not be disturbed unless the newly constituted Arbitral Tribunal decides otherwise.

 11) Decisions of the Registrar for Arbitration as to the appointment, confirmation, challenge or replacement of an Arbitrator/s shall be final.

 12) Any time frames stipulated in the rules hereunder, for completion of any of the matters stipulated hereunder shall stand suspended during the period the Registrar decides the issues relating to appointment or continuance of Arbitrators. The Arbitral Tribunal may thereafter set appropriate time frames taking into consideration the provisions of these rules.


RULE 37: CHALLENGE TO APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATORS

1) Any arbitrator’s appointment may be challenged if circumstances exist such as to give rise to justifiable doubts as to the arbitrator's impartiality or independence or if the arbitrator does not possess any requisite qualification on which the parties have agreed.

 2) A party may challenge the appointment of an arbitrator nominated by him only for reasons of which he becomes aware after the appointment has been made.


RULE 38 : NOTICE OF CHALLENGE

 1) A party who intends to challenge the appointment of an arbitrator shall send a notice of challenge within 14 days after the circumstances mentioned in above referred Rule 15,16, 17, 37 and Schedule 7 ,  became known to that party.

 2) The notice of challenge shall be filed with the Registrar and shall be sent simultaneously to the other party, the arbitrator who is being challenged and the other members of the Tribunal. The notice of challenge shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the challenge. Subject to the challenge being in order, the Registrar shall order suspension of the arbitration proceedings until the challenge is resolved. Only under exceptional cases such as Fast Track Proceedings under Rule 58, an emergency arbitrator shall be appointed by the Director under Rule 55.

 3) When the appointment of an arbitrator is challenged by one party, (a) the other party may concede the challenge or (b) the arbitrator, whose appointment has been challenged, may withdraw from his office. In neither case, it would imply acceptance of the validity of the grounds for the challenge.

 4) In instances referred to in above Rule 38 (3), the procedure provided in Rules 21 to 24, as the case may be, shall be used for the appointment of a replacement arbitrator, even if during the process of appointing the original arbitrator whose appointment has been challenged, a party had earlier failed to exercise his right to nominate. The time limit provided in those Rules shall commence from the date of receipt of communication from the other party conceding to the demand for change or from the date of the challenged arbitrator’s withdrawal.


RULE 39: DECISION ON CHALLENGE

 1) In the non happening of the events specified in above Rule 38, a Sub-Committee of the Executive Board shall decide on the challenge within 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice of challenge.

 2) If the Sub-Committee sustains the challenge, a substitute arbitrator shall be appointed in accordance with the procedure provided in Rule 21 and Rule 22, 23 or 24, as the case may be, even if during the process of appointing the arbitrator in question, a party had failed to exercise his right to nominate. The time-limit provided in those Rules shall commence from the date of the Registrar’s notification to the parties of the decision by the Sub-Committee.

 3) If the Sub-Committee dismisses the challenge, the concerned arbitrator shall continue with the arbitration proceedings, and the suspension of the Arbitral Proceedings shall stand revoked.
 4) The Sub-Committee may fix the costs of the challenge and may direct by whom and how such costs should be borne.

 5) The Sub-Committee’s decision made under this Rule shall be final and not subject to appeal.


RULE 40: REPLACEMENT OF AN ARBITRATOR

 1) In the event of the death or resignation or withdrawal of an arbitrator during the course of the arbitral proceedings, a substitute arbitrator shall be appointed in accordance with the procedure applicable to the nomination and appointment of the arbitrator being replaced.

 2) In the event that an arbitrator refuses or fails to act or in the event of a de jure or de facto impossibility of him performing his functions or if he does not fulfill his functions in accordance with the Rules or within prescribed time limits, the procedure for replacement of an arbitrator provided in the above Rule 40(1) shall apply.

 3) After consulting with the parties, the Director may in his discretion remove an arbitrator who refuses or fails to act, or in the event of a de jure or de facto impossibility of him performing his functions, or if he is not fulfilling his functions in accordance with the Rules or within the prescribed time limits.


RULE 41: REPETITION OF HEARINGS IN THE EVENT OF REPLACEMENT OF AN ARBITRATOR

If under Rules 38 to 40, the sole or presiding arbitrator is replaced, any hearings held previously shall be repeated unless otherwise agreed by the parties. If any other arbitrator is replaced, such prior hearings may be repeated at the discretion of the Tribunal after consulting with the parties. If the Tribunal has issued an interim or partial award, any hearings related solely to that award shall not be repeated, and the award shall remain in effect. However, on creation of vacancy with respect to any arbitrator of a Tribunal during the process of recording evidence or hearing on interlocutory applications, the newly constituted arbitral Tribunal shall continue as if there is no change of the Tribunal.


RULE 42 : APPLICABLE RULES AND LAW FOR ARBITRATION

 1) In order to invoke the jurisdiction of the VIA Mediation Arbitration Tribunal, all the parties to a contract or a dispute shall agree in writing to refer any dispute or issue for Arbitration under the VIA Mediation Rules.

 2) The parties may choose to adopt the law of any country as they mutually agree and explicitly state so in the contract or agreement for reference to arbitration.

 3) In matters relating to International Arbitration, parties may agree in writing to exclude Part I of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Indian Law). In the absence of any such express exclusion and if at least one of the parties to the concerned arbitration agreement is an Indian entity, Part I of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 would apply.

4) The Tribunal shall apply the rules of law designated by the parties as applicable to the substance of the dispute. Failing such designation by the parties, the Tribunal shall apply the laws of India.

 5) In all cases, the Tribunal shall decide in accordance with the terms of the contract, if any, and shall take into account any usage of trade applicable to the transaction.


PART6C: PROCEEDINGS BEFORE ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

RULE 43: SUBMISSIONS BY THE PARTIES

1) Unless the Tribunal determines otherwise, the submission of the pleadings shall proceed as set out in this Rule.

2) Unless already submitted pursuant to above referred Rule 20.2, the Respondent shall, within a period of time to be determined by the Tribunal, send to the Claimant a Statement of Objections setting out its full objections to the Statement of Claim, including without limitation, the facts and contentions of law on which it relies. The Statement of Objections shall also state any counterclaim, which shall comply with the requirements of Rule 20.1.

 3) If a counterclaim is made, the Claimant shall, within a period of time to be determined by the Tribunal, send to the Respondent a Statement of Objections to the Counterclaim stating in full detail which of the facts and contentions of law in the Statement of Counterclaim it admits or denies, on what grounds it denies the claims or contentions, and on what other facts and contentions of law it relies.

 4) A party may amend its claim, counterclaim or other submissions unless the Tribunal considers it inappropriate to allow such amendment having regard to the delay in making it or prejudice that may be caused to the other party in doing so or any other circumstances. However, a claim or counterclaim may not be amended in such a manner that the amended claim or counterclaim falls outside the scope of the arbitration agreement. If any additional claims are sought to be made, appropriate additional fee shall be payable to VIA Mediation Centre and the arbitrator. Unless additional fee is paid to VIA Mediation Centre and Arbitrator, any amendments with regard to the claim shall not be given effect by the Tribunal.

 5) The Tribunal shall decide which further submissions shall be required from the parties or may be presented by them. The Tribunal shall fix the time limits for communicating such submissions.

 6) All submissions referred to in this Rule shall be accompanied by copies of all supporting documents referred to in the pleadings of the respective parties.

 7) If the Claimant fails to submit its Statement of Claim within the time specified, the Tribunal may issue an order for the termination of the arbitral proceedings or give such other directions as may be appropriate.

 8) If the Respondent fails to submit a Statement of Objections, or if at any point of time any party fails to avail itself of the opportunity to present its case in the manner directed by the Tribunal, the Tribunal may proceed with the arbitration as such.


RULE 44: SUBMISSION OF PLEADINGS, DOCUMENTS ETC.

VIA Mediation Centre shall receive the documents set out in Rule 34 and shall forward the same to the Arbitral Tribunal.


RULE 45: CLAIM AND DEFENCE STATEMENT


1) Once the Arbitral Tribunal has been constituted in the manner set out above, it will hold its first sitting on a day designated by VIA Mediation Centre. The Arbitrator/s at the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal shall decide and determine the procedure and time frame for submitting the pleadings, fixing the date for oral hearings etc. At the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal, the Tribunal will fix a date when the claimant would serve his claim statement on the defendant which period shall not exceed thirty days from the date of first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal. This period in exceptional circumstances, for reasons to be recorded in writing, may be extended by another 15 days.

 2) The defendant/s / respondent/s shall within 30 days from the receipt of documents referred to above, set out his/its defence in a defence statement with the relevant documents. In exceptional circumstances, the defendants/ respondents may apply in writing to the Tribunal for an extension of time for filing his/its documents and defence statements. Extensions may be granted in exceptional cases but normally no further time beyond 45 days from receipt of claim statement and documents shall be granted in accordance with  the Rule mentioned below. The Arbitral Tribunal would be empowered to fix a lesser period than that contemplated above.

 3) A copy of the defence statement and the relevant documents shall be communicated to the claimant, by the defendants /respondents. Thereafter the claimant upon receipt of the defence statement shall be entitled to file their rejoinder. Within 30 days of review of the defence statement a copy of the rejoinder and relevant documents shall be communicated to the respondent and VIA Mediation Centre.

 4) Any extension beyond the period contemplated in these Rules will be at the discretion of the Arbitral Tribunal which shall levy appropriate costs for such extensions or adjournments as it deems fit.

5) The claimant shall give the facts supporting the claims claimed within the  given time and the other party shall also mention their defences in respect to the particulars. If the claimant fails to communicate his claims the arbitral tribunal shall terminate the proceedings.
6) If the respondent fails to communicate his defence  with respect to the above mentioned the tribunal shall continue the proceedings without treating that as a failure in its admission of the allegations by the claimant. The tribunal may continue the proceedings and make the arbitral award on the evidence before it if the parties fails to produce the evidence or fails to appear for the oral hearing.




RULE 46: COUNTERCLAIM AND REPLY TO COUNTERCLAIM

Along with the counter statement any counterclaim made by the defendant shall be filed with all the necessary and relevant documents as in the case of the claim under Rule 45 within 30 days of receiving the claim along with the counter statement and the claimant may within 30 days of the receipt of the defence statement with the counterclaim, reply to the counterclaim within a further period of 30 days.


RULE 47: CLUBBING OF CLAIMS / DISPUTES

When substantially the same dispute or question of law and facts are likely to arise in more than one contract or agreement, the Arbitral Tribunal may invite all parties involved to agree to club all claims / disputes in a single arbitration between such two or more of the parties.


RULE 48: PLEADINGS, COPIES OF STATEMENTS, SERVICE OF NOTICES ETC

 1) All pleadings and written statements submitted by any party, as well as all documents annexed thereto shall be supplied in number of copies sufficient to provide one copy for each party, plus one for each Arbitrator and one for VIA Mediation Centre’s records.

 2) All notices, communications etc., by VIA Mediation Centre or the parties or Arbitrators shall be deemed to be validly made, if it is done so in compliance with these rules. The Arbitral Tribunal may direct any notice to be served by electronic mail or facsimile.

 3) Any notice required to be served under these rules, if required to be served otherwise than through Court, shall be served in the manner provided under the agreement or if there is no such provision in the agreement, then the service shall be affected in the manner indicated in Rule 34 of these rules.

 4) Periods of time specified under these Rules or the Notification of the High Court or in provisions hereto, shall be calculated as per specifications regarding non-working days and National holidays as provided in the Limitation Act, 1963.


RULE 49: PARTY REPRESENTATIVES

Any party may be represented by legal practitioners, counsels or any other representatives, subject to such proof of authority as the Registrar or the Tribunal may require.


RULE 50: HEARINGS

1) Unless the parties have agreed on documents-only arbitration, the Tribunal shall, if either party so requests or the Tribunal so decides, hold a hearing for the presentation of evidence and/or for oral submissions on the merits of the dispute, including without limitation any issue as to jurisdiction.

 2) The Tribunal shall fix the date, time and place of any meeting or hearing and shall give the parties reasonable notice.

 3) If any party to the proceedings fails to appear at a hearing without showing sufficient cause for such failure, the Tribunal may proceed with the arbitration and may make the award based on the submissions and evidence before it.


RULE 51: WITNESSES

1) Subject to Rule 102, before any hearing, the Tribunal may require any party to furnish a list of witnesses, including expert witnesses, whom it intends to produce, the subject matter of their testimony and its relevance to the issues.

 2) Subject to Rule 102 the Tribunal has discretion to allow, refuse or limit the appearance of witnesses.

 3) Any witness who gives oral evidence may be questioned by each of the parties, their representatives and the Tribunal in such manner as the Tribunal shall determine.

 4) The Tribunal may direct the testimony of witnesses to be presented in the form of affidavits. Subject to Rule 102 and above mentioned clause 2, any party may request that such a witness should attend for oral cross examination.


RULE 52 : TRIBUNAL-APPOINTED EXPERTS

 1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the Tribunal may:

 (a) following consultation with the parties, appoint an expert to report on specific issues; and

 (b) require a party to give such expert any relevant information, or to produce or provide access to any relevant documents, goods or property for inspection.


RULE 53 : AMENDMENT OF PLEADINGS

Any request for amendment of any pleading will be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal in a manner it deems fit.


RULE 54 : CONDUCT OF PROCEEDINGS

 1) Once all pleadings as contemplated in the preceding rules have been filed, the Arbitrator/s shall proceed within as short a time as possible, to appreciate the facts of the case by all appropriate means. After studying the written submissions of the parties and all documents relied upon, the Arbitrator/s shall proceed to fix dates for oral hearings of the case if so requested or deemed fit.

 2) In addition, the Arbitrator/s may duly summon and hear any other person/witness in the presence of the parties or by commission, for the purpose of taking evidence, the Arbitral Tribunal may have recourse to the provisions of Section 27 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

 3) The Arbitral Tribunal shall be empowered to appoint a Commission to investigate and report on any matter in dispute between the parties. The Arbitral Tribunal shall further enjoy such other powers as are entrusted to it by the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

 4) The Arbitrator/s may appoint one or more experts to help them in their adjudication after due consultation with the parties to the dispute or on the request of the parties to the dispute after determining the costs to be paid to such experts.

 5) If the parties duly summoned fail to appear and the Arbitral Tribunal is satisfied that the summons were served and that there is no valid excuse for the absence, the Arbitral Tribunal may go ahead with the proceedings, and decide the matter on merits. Such proceedings shall then have been deemed to be duly conducted and determination reached on the merits of the matter.

 6) The Arbitral Tribunal will also be empowered to issue interrogatories.

 7) The parties to the proceedings may appear in person or through authorized agents or advocates.

 8) The language of the proceedings shall normally be in English or as stated in Rule 30 determined by the Arbitrator/s and the parties thereto according to the facts and circumstances of the case and the language of the documents. If the parties desire that the proceeding be in any other language, they shall make a request even at the time of forwarding the request for appointment of Arbitrators. If the proceedings are to be in a language other than English, translation of the entire proceedings to English will be made and the cost of such translation shall be borne equally by the parties to the proceedings. The proceedings will be permitted to be in a language other than English only if the agreement provides for the same or all parties to the Arbitration proceedings and the Arbitrator(s) consent to such choice of language and the parties have agreed to the incidental costs.

 9) If the parties reach a settlement before the adjudication or cessation of the proceedings, then and unless the claims and counterclaims are withdrawn it shall be so recorded in the form of an arbitral award made with the consent of the parties on agreed terms.

 10) The Arbitrators may in every arbitration proceedings that comes up before them, encourage parties to seek resolution of their disputes by mediation or conciliation and for this purpose may refer the matter to Mediation in accordance with the Rules of VIA Mediation Centre. No such reference shall be made unless all the parties or their representatives consent to such reference for mediation. The costs of such mediation or conciliation will be stipulated by the mediation or conciliation Centre to whom the matter is referred. In cases where it is referred to a panel of mediators maintained by VIA Mediation Centre the costs will be intimated to the parties before commencement of the Mediation proceedings.

 11) The Arbitrators shall so far as may be possible discharge their duties in consonance with the Rules framed by VIA Mediation Centre for such purpose.

 12) Joinder of Additional Parties:

 (a) The Arbitral Tribunal may implead a party to the arbitral proceedings with the written consent of all the parties to the arbitration agreement and written consent of the party as it deems fit.

 (b) The proportionate administrative costs and Arbitral Tribunal’s fee prescribed in the respective schedule shall be payable by the newly added party.

(c) The Arbitral Tribunal will determine the proportionate share of administrative costs and fee if there are more than two parties.


RULE 55 : EMERGENCY ARBITRATOR

A party in need of emergency interim relief prior to the constitution of the Tribunal may apply for such relief pursuant to the procedures set forth herein below.

 1) A party in need of emergency relief may, concurrent with or following the filing of a Notice of Arbitration but prior to the constitution of the Tribunal, make an application for emergency interim relief. The party shall notify the Registrar and all other parties in writing of the nature of the relief sought and the reasons why such relief is required on an emergency basis. The application shall also set forth the reasons why the party is entitled to such relief. Such notice must include a statement certifying that all other parties have been notified or an explanation of the steps taken in good faith to notify other parties. The application shall also be accompanied by payment of any fees set by the Registrar for the proceedings.

 2) The Registrar shall, if he determines that VIA Mediation Centre should accept the application, seek to appoint an Emergency Arbitrator within one business day of receipt by the Registrar of such application and payment of any required fee.

 3) Prior to accepting appointment, a prospective Emergency Arbitrator shall disclose to the Registrar any circumstance that may give rise to justifiable doubts as to his impartiality or independence. Any challenge to the appointment of the Emergency Arbitrator must be made within one business day of the communication by the Registrar to the parties of the appointment of the Emergency Arbitrator and the circumstances disclosed.

 4) An Emergency Arbitrator may not act as an arbitrator in any future arbitration relating to the dispute, unless agreed by the parties.

 5) The Emergency Arbitrator shall, as soon as possible but in any event within two business days of appointment, establish a schedule for consideration of the application for emergency relief. Such schedule shall provide a reasonable opportunity to all parties to be heard, but may provide for proceedings by telephone conference or on written submissions as alternatives to a formal hearing. The Emergency Arbitrator shall have the powers vested in the Tribunal pursuant to these Rules, including the authority to rule on his own jurisdiction, and shall resolve any disputes over the application.

 6) The Emergency Arbitrator shall have the power to order or award any interim relief that he deems necessary. The Emergency Arbitrator shall give reasons for his decision in writing. The Emergency Arbitrator may modify or vacate the interim award or order for good cause shown.

 7) The Emergency Arbitrator shall have no further power to act after the Tribunal is constituted. The Tribunal may reconsider, modify or vacate the interim award or order of emergency relief issued by the Emergency Arbitrator. The Tribunal is not bound by the reasons given by the Emergency Arbitrator. Any order or award issued by the Emergency Arbitrator shall, in any event, cease to be binding if the Tribunal is not constituted within 90 days of such order or award or when the Tribunal makes a final award or if the claim is withdrawn.

 8) An order or award pursuant to an application under this rule shall be binding on the parties when rendered. By agreeing to arbitration under these Rules, the parties undertake to comply with such an order or award without delay.

 9) The costs associated with any application under this rule shall initially be apportioned by the Emergency Arbitrator, subject to the power of the Tribunal to determine finally the apportionment of such costs.

 10) These Rules shall apply as appropriate to any proceeding, taking into account the inherent urgency of such a proceeding. The Emergency Arbitrator may decide in what manner these Rules shall apply as appropriate, and his decision as to such matters is final and not subject to appeal.


RULE 56: CLOSURE OF PROCEEDINGS


 1) The Arbitral Tribunal may inquire from the parties, if they have any further proof to offer or witnesses to be heard or submission to make and if there are none, pass an order to declare the hearings closed.

 2) The Arbitral Tribunal may if it considers necessary, owing to exceptional circumstances, decide on its own motion or upon application of a party to re-open the hearings at any time before the award is made.


RULE 57: TIME LIMIT

The proceedings under the said rules shall be deemed to commence, for the purposes of determining the duration of the arbitral proceedings, from the time of the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal.

 1) The arbitration proceedings, in entirety (including passing of the award) must be concluded within a period of twelve months from its commencement but every endeavour should be made by the Tribunal to ensure that it is completed before such period.

2) The final arbitral award must be rendered by the Arbitrator(s) within a period of 2 months from the date of conclusion of hearing and the Arbitrators are advised to make the award as expeditiously as possible after the close of hearings. Arbitrators may meet as many times as necessary to finalise the award but such meetings shall not be deemed to be sittings of the Tribunal for the purposes of payment of fees to Arbitrators or the Centre. In appropriate cases the Arbitral Tribunal may however direct the parties to pay the expenses incurred for such meetings.

 3) The Arbitral Tribunal may in exceptional circumstances and for reasons to be recorded in writing, extend the period set out in Rule 57(1) by a further period not exceeding six months, subject to the inherent discretion of the Arbitral tribunal to extend the period by further twelve months in cases of extreme complexity for reasons to be recorded in writing.

 4) In construing the periods mentioned in this clause, any duration for which the proceedings have been stayed by a court of law will be excluded.


RULE 58: FAST TRACK ARBITRATION

The parties may by consensus opt for Fast Track Arbitration and request the Arbitral Tribunal before the commencement of the arbitration proceedings to decide the reference in a fixed time frame of 4 months from the first sitting of the Arbitral Tribunal according to the Fast Track Arbitration procedure as under:

 1) The Arbitral Tribunal will be authorised to decide the dispute on the written pleadings, documents and written submissions filed by the parties without any oral evidence. The parties may file an undertaking before the Tribunal that they are not disputing the veracity or relevance of documents filed before the Tribunal and that all documents may be deemed to be admissible and proved.

2) The Arbitral Tribunal shall have power to call for any further information or clarification from the parties in addition to the pleadings and documents filed by them and such information /clarification may be taken on record.

3) To facilitate due application of this rule, the Arbitral Tribunal shall be entitled to fix its own time limits for the filing of pleadings arguments and written submissions and to regulate all proceedings accordingly to the exclusion of any other rule herein as the Arbitral Tribunal may deem fit.


PART 6D: PARTICIPATION IN ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS

RULE 59: PRESENCE OF PARTIES BEFORE ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

1) In cases where one party to a proceeding alone participates in the arbitral proceedings and the other party in spite of due service of notice remains ex-parte, an award shall be passed after hearing such party who is present. In such cases, the entire cost of the arbitration proceedings should be borne by the party who is present. The Arbitral Tribunal may however in all such cases award payment of costs in accordance with Law to the party attending the proceedings to enable them to recover it from the defaulting party.

2) In case the proceedings are adjourned on account of absence of both parties, the parties shall pay the fees as stipulated in Rule 63 to VIA Mediation Centre and such further fee for the Arbitration sitting as may be determined by the Arbitrator(s).

3) In cases where the hearing is adjourned on account of absence of one or more of the parties to the proceedings, but not all of them. Without prior intimation of at least 48 hours or without a valid reason, the parties so absent shall pay the fees as stipulated in Rule 63 to VIA Mediation Centre and such further fee for the Arbitration sitting as may be determined by the Arbitrator(s). The fees payable for the adjournment are in addition to the fees payable mentioned in the Part 10.


RULE 60: PARTIES TO AID ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

The parties shall do all acts necessary to enable the Arbitral Tribunal to conclude the proceedings and make an award expeditiously and shall not do or cause or allow to be done, any act which will delay the proceedings or prevent Arbitral Tribunal from making an award expeditiously. If any party does cause or allow to be done any such act, that party shall pay such costs as the Arbitral Tribunal deems reasonable to the other party or to any person directed by the Arbitral Tribunal.


RULE 61: EVIDENCE OF EXPERTS

 1) The Arbitral Tribunal may at its discretion and at any time or times before making the final award, at the expense of the parties concerned, seek the opinion of any person having special knowledge relating to the subject matter of the proceedings, particular industry, commodity, produce or branch of trade concerned in the reference. If the parties agree, the Arbitral Tribunal may, at the expense of the parties, appoint any expert, accountant or lawyers, to assist them to arrive at a decision on any issue factual or legal, taking into account the advice of such assessor. The costs to be paid for assistance shall be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal on a reasonable basis.

 2) If a party so requests or if the Arbitral Tribunal considers it necessary, the expert shall after delivery of his written or oral report participate in an oral hearing where the parties have the opportunity to present expert witnesses in order to testify to points in issue.

 3) The expert shall on the request of a party make available to that party for examination, all documents, goods or other property in possession of the expert, with which he was provided in order to prepare his report.


RULE 62: ASSISTANCE OF COURT IN TAKING EVIDENCE

1) The Arbitral Tribunal or a party with the approval of the Arbitral Tribunal may apply to the Court for assistance in taking evidence:-

The Application shall specify:-
 (a) The names and addresses of the parties and the Arbitrators;
 (b) General nature of claim and relief sought;
 (c) The evidence to be obtained in particular;
(i) The name and address of any person to be heard as expert
witness and a statement of the subject matter of the testimony required.
(ii) The description of any document to be produced or property to be inspected.
(iii) For the purposes of this rule, the Arbitral Tribunal may if it
deems fit, engage legal assistance and the expenses for the same will be paid by the party/parties in a manner indicated by the Tribunal.


RULE 63: APPLICATION FOR ADJOURNMENT

1) If any party to arbitration, particularly in cases where any arbitrator, advocate or any of the parties has to come from out station to participate in arbitration proceedings, desires to seek adjournment on any valid ground, it must submit a written request to the Registrar at least before 5 working days stating the grounds which compel it to request for postponement of the hearing so that VIA Mediation is in a position to take necessary steps to inform the Parties, Arbitrators and Advocates regarding postponement of the hearing. Parties seeking adjournment will have to pay cost as may be determined by the arbitral tribunal.


PART 6E: THE AWARD

RULE 64: AWARD TO BE BASED ON DECISION OF MAJORITY

1) Whenever there is more than one Arbitrator, any decision of the Arbitral Tribunal shall be made either unanimously or failing which by a majority of all its members.

2) An arbitral award setting out the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal shall be signed by the members of the Arbitral Tribunal.

3) In arbitral proceedings with more than one Arbitrator, the signature of the majority of all the members of the Arbitral Tribunal shall be sufficient so long as the reason for any omitted signature is stated.


RULE 65: AWARD

1) When an Award has been made, the Registrar shall furnish a signed copy of the award duly certified by VIA Mediation Centre to the parties by registered post, provided the arbitration costs have been fully paid to VIA Mediation Centre by the parties or by one of them.

 2) VIA Mediation Centre may print, publish or otherwise circulate any award made under its rule or under its auspices, in any arbitration journal, magazine, report etc., for the purpose of creating arbitration jurisprudence or precedents for the benefit and guidance of future arbitrations.

3) No party to the arbitration shall have any objection to the publication of awards as above, provided that the names and addresses of any party to the dispute will be omitted from such publication and its identity duly concealed if so desired by such party.


RULE 66: AWARD TO BE REASONED AWARD

The Arbitral Award shall state the reasons upon which it is based, unless the parties have agreed otherwise or unless the Award is an Arbitral Award on agreed terms.


RULE 67: DATE AND PLACE OF AWARD

The Arbitral Award shall state its date and the place of arbitration and the Award shall be deemed to have been made at that place.


RULE 68: CORRECTION OF THE AWARD

1) The Arbitral Tribunal may on its own initiative correct any computation errors, any clerical or typographical errors or any other errors of a similar nature occurring in the Award within 30 days from the date of the Arbitral Award.

 2) Within 30 days after the receipt of the arbitral award, either party with notice to the other party may request the Arbitral Tribunal to correct in the Award, any errors in computation, any clerical or typographical errors or any errors of similar nature. The Arbitral Tribunal may within 30 days on receipt of such request and hearing objections if any, make such corrections if it finds the request to be sustainable.

 3) All such corrections mentioned in the preceding rules shall be in writing.

 4) If so agreed by the parties, a party with notice to the other party may request the Arbitral Tribunal to give an interpretation of a specific point or part of the Award which if found admissible will be made within 30 days of receipt of the request.


RULE 69: ADDITIONAL AWARD

1) Within 30 days after the receipt of the Award, either party with notice to the other party, may request the Arbitral Tribunal to make an additional award as to claims presented in the arbitral proceedings but omitted from the Award.

 2) If the Arbitral Tribunal considers the request for an additional Award to be justified and considers that the omission can be rectified, without any further hearings or evidence it shall deliver its Additional Award within 30 days after the receipt of the request.





RULE 70: AWARD BASED ON AGREEMENT BETWEEN PARTIES

Should the parties arrive at a settlement of the dispute by common agreement before the Arbitral Tribunal and the Arbitral Tribunal is satisfied that such agreement is genuine and not to defeat the purpose of any law, the Arbitral Tribunal shall render an Award as per agreement of the parties. Otherwise, the Arbitral Tribunal shall make the Award on the basis of documents, evidence, etc., filed before it by the parties, and the submissions made before it.


RULE 71: NOTIFICATION, DEPOSIT AND ENFORCEABILITY OF THE AWARD

The Arbitrators constituting the Arbitral Tribunal shall sign the award and the Registrar shall notify to the parties of the making and signing thereof and of the amount of fees and charges payable in respect of the arbitration and the award and remaining unpaid fees. VIA Mediation Centre shall intimate the parties that the award of the Arbitral Tribunal is ready and will invite the parties to collect the award from VIA Mediation Centre. If the same is not collected within ten days of such intimation the Award will then be dispatched by registered post acknowledgement due to the parties.


PART 7: MEDIATION & CONCILIATION PROCEDURE

RULE 72: PANEL OF MEDIATORS AND CONCILIATORS

1) The Director shall prepare a panel of Mediators and Conciliators who are qualified under the Rule 15,16 and 17 of VIA Mediation Centre and are fit to be empanelled, based on the recommendations of the Governing Council.

2) The Director may, in consultation with the Governing Council, nominate one or more Mediators as coordinators for the purpose of coordinating Mediation activities at VIA Mediation Centre and similarly appoint coordinators for the purpose of coordinating conciliation activities at VIA Mediation Centre.

3) The panel of names shall also mention their respective qualifications and professional or technical experience.

4) Those desirous of being empanelled as a Mediator/ Conciliator are deemed to be aware that on their name being removed from the Panel of Mediators/Conciliators, they would have no right to claim compensation or damages from VIA Mediation Centre; nor would they be entitled to seek reinstatement of their names in VIA Mediation Centre’s Panel of Mediators/Conciliators.

5) Any Mediator/Conciliator may be removed from the Panel, in accordance with the Rule 76.


RULE 73: TEMPORARY DISABILITY

1) Every person appointed as a Mediator/Conciliator in a dispute, shall inform the Registrar and all the parties to the dispute, if he is in anyway interested either directly or indirectly, in any of the parties to the dispute or interested in the subject matter of dispute, at the earliest point of time of his discovery of such interest and not to accept the relevant conflict/dispute for resolution. If he fails to inform/ disclose such information, such a failure would amount to misconduct.

 2) The Registry shall, on receipt of any information from any of the parties or their representatives that the Mediator appointed is interested or related to any of the parties or interested in the subject matter of the dispute, appoint a new mediator provided such information is substantiated with prima facie evidence.
 3) A Mediator/Conciliator who is temporarily disqualified in a particular matter, is not entitled to any remuneration in the said matter.


RULE 74: PREFERENCE

1) VIA Mediation Centre shall, while nominating any person as Mediator/Conciliator for a particular case may at its discretion, give preference to those who have special qualification or expertise in the specific domain area.

 2) If the parties require a specific Mediator/Conciliator, a premium fee may be levied by VIA Mediation Centre, as per the fee schedule in SCHEDULE 15.


RULE 75: VENUE FOR CONDUCTING MEDIATION OR CONCILIATION

The Mediator/Conciliator shall conduct the Mediation at the Centre or at the place of the Mediator/Conciliator or at any place mutually agreed upon by the parties and the concerned Mediator/Conciliator subject to  Rule 78.


RULE 76: CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEDIATORS/ CONCILIATORS

Before commencing the Mediation/Conciliation process, the Mediator/ Conciliator shall disclose to the parties, his interest in the outcome of the dispute or interest in any of the parties and/or any circumstances that are likely to give rise to justifiable doubt as to his independence or impartiality.

 1) In the event that any party expresses his reservation about any Mediator’s/Conciliator’s neutrality or independence, the Mediator/Conciliator shall recuse himself from the matter and report the same to the coordinator or Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre.

2) Every Mediator/ Conciliator shall, without delay, on his discovery of any conflict of interest during the process of Mediation/ Conciliation, disclose to the parties such an interest and forthwith recuse himself from the matter.

3) Willful failure to disclose his or her interest to the parties would amount to misconduct.

4) No Mediator/ Conciliator shall compel any Party to settle a dispute in a specific manner against the wishes of any of the Parties.

 5) No Mediator/ Conciliator shall demand any favour or consideration or accept any gifts or inducement from any of the parties in any manner, before, during or after the completion of the process of Mediation/ Conciliation, other than the fee prescribed or approved by VIA Mediation Centre.

 6) No Mediator/ Conciliator shall represent any of the parties to the dispute in any case or advise, in any professional capacity, any parties to a dispute for a period of three years on conclusion of the Mediation/Conciliation, irrespective of whether the Mediation/Conciliation resulted in a settlement or not.

  7) No Mediator/Conciliator shall disclose any Confidential Information given by the parties during the course of Mediation/Conciliation to any court or any third parties or disclose any Confidential Information of one party to another party without the prior written consent of the disclosing party.

 8) No Mediator shall, after the commencement of the Mediation process, sit as arbitrator or conciliator or as judge in the same or connected case that has been referred for Mediation.

 9) No Mediator/ Conciliator, after giving specific dates for Mediation/ Conciliation, absent himself persistently without any justifiable cause.

 10) Every Mediator/Conciliator shall conduct himself with dignity and decorum and be polite with the parties.

11) A Mediator shall not conduct local investigation.

 12) No Mediator/ Conciliator shall visit the house or place of business/ office of any parties to a dispute that has been referred for Mediation before him.

 13) The Mediator/ Conciliator shall not accompany any parties to the dispute, to any place, without notice and written consent of the other parties to the dispute.
14) No Mediator shall be a custodian or act as an escrow agent of any properties or money in a matter under Mediation without the consent of the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre.

 15) A Conciliator, but not a Mediator, may act as a custodian or an escrow agent, provided:
 16) The parties apply to the Registry in writing seeking its approval;
 (a) The parties and the Conciliator enter into an escrow agreement with a signed copy of the agreement being sent to the Registry;  
(b) The parties and the Conciliator indemnify VIA Mediation Centre and all its functionaries and members of the Governing Council and members of the Executive Board, from any loss or claim that might arise on account of any breach of instruction or loss of property or money by the Conciliator.
 
 17) The Registry reserves its right to refuse permission to any Conciliator to act as a custodian or escrow, without assigning reasons.

 18) The Centre shall not be liable in any manner for loss of property or money given to the Conciliator in custody or escrow under any circumstances.


RULE 77: PROCEDURE REGARDING APPEARANCE OF PARTIES

1) Whenever parties to a dispute agree in writing to get the matter referred to VIA Mediation Centre for resolution of the dispute/conflict, any or all of them shall write to the Registrar of his/their intention to get the dispute resolved availing the facilities of VIA Mediation Centre, with complete particulars about the applicants and opposite parties, such as names, addresses and other details of all the parties and a brief description of the dispute or conflict.Such an application shall be accompanied by ‘Registration Fee’ as prescribed as per Schedule 15 which may be revised from time to time by VIA Mediation Centre.

2) The Registrar shall issue notices to the parties concerned about the reference made by a party or parties to the agreement for Mediation/ Conciliation and request the parties to appear before or communicate with VIA Mediation Centre on a specific date and time for the appointment of a Mediator/Conciliator.

3) The Registry will levy such administrative fee as per SCHEDULE 15 as determined by VIA Mediation Centre from time to time. Such fee shall be payable by each of the parties to the dispute, in response to notice issued under clause 2 above.

 4) Unless all the parties remit their respective administrative fee, the Registry will not commence the process. The parties shall also deposit such applicable taxes along with the registration fee.

5) On the specified date and time fixed by VIA Mediation Centre, the parties to the Mediation/Conciliation proceedings, along with their Advocates, shall appear before the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre without fail.

 6) Where a government or public /private institution is a party, only the person authorised to take a final decision shall attend the Mediation/ Conciliation proceedings, by providing an appropriate letter of authority or board resolution to  VIA Mediation Centre/Mediator/Conciliator.

 7) On attendance of the parties and depending upon the nature and the complexity of the case, the Registrar shall assign the case to the appropriate Mediator/Conciliator from among the panel of Mediators/Conciliators for the purpose of Mediation/Conciliation, as the case may be.

 8) For international disputes or domestic disputes where one or more parties do not reside or have place of business in Bangalore, the Registry may, on the request of all the concerned parties in writing,entertain online communication to complete the process mentioned in Rule 8 and wherever possible by video conference.

 9) The case, once assigned to a particular Mediator/ Conciliator, shall not be withdrawn from him. However, the Registrar is empowered to withdraw any case assigned to a particular Mediator/ Conciliator and assign the same to any other Mediator/Conciliator, if

(a) The Mediator / Conciliator has recused himself
 (b) The Mediator / Conciliator has been temporarily disqualified.
 (c) The Mediator / Conciliator has been permanently disqualified
 (d) On account of death or legal incapacity of the Mediator/Conciliator.

The Registrar’s decision to withdraw is final and binding on all the parties as well as the concerned Mediator/Conciliator.


RULE 78: PROCEDURE OF MEDIATION OR CONCILIATION

 1) The Mediator/ Conciliator shall following procedure :
 (a) He shall fix, in consultation with the parties, a time schedule, the dates and the time of each Mediation/ Conciliation session, where all parties have to be present;

(b) The seat of Mediation shall be Bangalore, at VIA Mediation Centre’s premises; however, the actual venue of mediation shall be determined by the Registry, which can be any place, even outside Bangalore, taking into consideration the optimum convenience of all the parties as well as the Mediator.

 (c) Parties who desire to avail the facilities of VIA Mediation Centre, at Bangalore, or at such other places of VIA Mediation Centre in India or abroad, may have to pay such utilization fees along with taxes, if any, which may be prescribed from time to time.

 (d) The Mediator/ Conciliator shall hold the Mediation/ Conciliation hearing in accordance with the provisions of these Rules.

 (e) Each party may provide to the Mediator/Conciliator a brief memorandum setting forth the issues, which, according to it, need to be resolved, and its position in respect to those issues, and all information reasonably required for the Mediator/Conciliator to understand the issues. Such memoranda if furnished shall be served on the other party.

 (f) If the Mediator/Conciliator is of the opinion that he should look into any original documents, he may make a request to the concerned party to produce such original documents.
 (g) Each party shall furnish to the Mediator/Conciliator such other information as may be required by him in connection with the issues to be resolved.


RULE 79: MEDIATOR/CONCILIATOR NOT BOUND BY ANY LAW OF EVIDENCE OR CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE

The Mediator/ Conciliator is not bound by any procedural law, such as the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Evidence Act, 1872, etc., but shall be guided by principles of fairness and justice, having due regard to the rights and obligations of the parties, confidentiality, usages of trade and custom,if any.


RULE 80: ATTENDANCE OF PARTIES AT SESSIONS OR MEETINGS ON DUE DATES

1) The following procedures shall be adopted regarding attendance of the parties at sessions.

 (a) If any person, party or the authorized person fails to appear before the Registrar on the date and time fixed by VIA Mediation Centre or on any rescheduled date, the Registrar may send a reminder letter to the absentee and re-fix a date. In the event the concerned party does not appear on the re-fixed date, VIA Mediation Centre will treat the matter as closed and unfit for Mediation.

 (b) After the assignment of the case to any Mediator/Conciliator, if all or any of the parties remain absent, continuously on more than one occasion, the Mediator/ Conciliator concerned shall send a report to the Registrar, with a mere remark “unfit for Mediation/Conciliation”. The Mediator/Conciliator should avoid granting adjournments without any valid reason.

 (c) If any party seeks an adjournment, such a requisition shall be made in advance giving 48 hours notice to the Mediator/ Conciliator and the other party to oppose or concede. If any party seeks adjournment at the commencement of a Mediation/Conciliation, he shall bear the fee of the Mediator/ Conciliator entirely for the said session.

 (d) Parties who are not residents of the city, town or district where the Mediation/Conciliation occurs, may be represented by their counsel and/ or power of attorney holders at the sessions or meetings. Duly notarized copy of such power of attorney shall be given to the Mediator/Conciliator at the commencement of the Mediation/Conciliation proceedings.

 (e) Parties representing registered partnership firms, companies, societies, cooperative societies, trusts, limited liability partnerships, statutory bodies or corporations or government entities, local bodies, shall submit appropriate letter of authority/ resolution to represent such an entity before the Mediator/Conciliator at the time of proceeding, with a copy sent to the Registry of VIA Mediation Centre.

 (f) In the event of change in authority to represent during the course of the proceedings, appropriate letter of authority/resolution to represent should be lodged with the Mediator.

 (g) Parties who commit default after agreeing to the Mediation/ Conciliation process by not attending any sessions or abandoning the Mediation/Conciliation process shall be liable for set-off or to pay the Mediator/Conciliator the fees for the number of sessions held where the concerned party absented itself.

(2) The registration fee shall not be liable to be refunded to the parties in the event one or more parties abstain from Mediation process or for failed Mediation or if the matter is considered to be unfit for mediation.

(3) The Mediator/Conciliator shall inform at least 48 hours in advance to all the parties including the Registry if he needs to postpone any session, unless he is prevented from attending the session on account of sudden illness or reasons beyond his control.

(4) If the Mediator/ Conciliator fails to attend a session without notice to the parties, he shall not be entitled for fee for the session which he failed to attend. Persistent absence by a Mediator/ Conciliator would enable any of the parties to seek alternative Mediator/ Conciliator and the Mediator/Conciliator is liable to return the fee that has been paid to him in advance without any interest.

(5) VIA Mediation Centre, at the request of the parties, may appoint another Mediator/Conciliator, in the event any Mediator/Conciliator abandons the process, unless he sends in writing that the matter is unfit for Mediation/ Conciliation.

(6) If the opinion of the Mediator/Conciliator is that the matter is unfit for Mediation/Conciliation, he should report the matter to the Director without assigning any reasons.

(7) When the matter is settled, the Settlement should, as far as possible, be drafted as prescribed by the Director.


RULE 81: MATTERS UNFIT FOR MEDIATION OR CONCILIATION

 1) The following matters or cases will be termed as unfit for Mediation/Conciliation:
 (a) Disputes involving serious allegations of any heinous crimes such as fraud, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery or any offences punishable under any law  

 (b) Disputes that involve constitutional remedies

 (c) Disputes that cannot be resolved by Mediation/ Conciliation by virtue of specific prohibition under any law, like granting of divorce, probate of will, guardianship, winding-up of companies, insolvency petitions, etc.

 (d) When one or more parties persistently fail to respond to the notice issued by the Registrar

 (e) When one or more parties fail to participate in the proceedings or refuse to continue with the proceedings.

 (f) Death or legal incapacity of any of the parties. However, in the event all the legal representatives of the deceased party, are existing parties in the said dispute or within 15 days from the death of a party to the dispute, all his legal representatives voluntarily desire to participate in the proceedings and subject to the condition that the other parties have no objection, the Mediation/Conciliation may continue.

 (g) In the opinion of the Mediator/Conciliator,the matter requires technical or judicial intervention and is unfit for Mediation/Conciliation.





RULE 82: SCOPE OF MEDIATION/CONCILIATION

The scope of Mediation / Conciliation would cover all matters referred for settlement of disputes and all such matters that may not have been specifically referred but are connected to the dispute so referred.


RULE 83: AUTHORITY OF THE MEDIATOR / CONCILIATOR

1) The following authority shall be exercised by the Mediator/Conciliator in the course of a proceeding:
(a) Authority to fix date of sessions and reschedule if necessary.
 (b) Authority to adjourn proceedings.
 (c) Authority to restrict admission to guests/ relatives / friends accompanying the parties to the sessions.
 (d) Authority to convene private sessions or joint Session.
 (e) Authority to seek expert opinion or translator or interpreter.
 (f) Authority to seek the assistance of Co-Mediator.
 (g) Authority to assist in drafting settlement.
 (h) Authority to refuse to divulge Confidential Information.
 (i) Authority to send “Settlement failed” report.
 (j) Authority to send “unfit case” report.
 (k) Authority to raise invoice and bills of cost as per the terms of agreement
(l) Authority not to issue copies of settlement until all fees and dues are paid to him.


RULE 84: ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE

In order to facilitate the conduct of Mediation/Conciliation proceedings, the parties, or the Mediator/ Conciliator with the consent of the parties, may arrange for assistance of an expert/s such as chartered accountants, valuation experts, engineers, surveyors etc.



RULE 85: ROLE OF COORDINATORS / MEDIATORS / CONCILIATORS

 1) The following shall be the role of Coordinators / Mediators / Conciliator:
 (a) The Coordinators shall perform such functions and duties as may be entrusted to them from time to time by the Executive Board.
(b) The Coordinators shall interact with other Mediators, discuss technical and practical issues, and interact with parties approaching VIA Mediation Centre, administrators of the VIA Mediation Centre and the Board of Directors.
 (c) The Mediator/Conciliator shall attempt to facilitate voluntary resolution of the dispute by the parties and communicate the view of the respective party to the other, assist them in identifying issues, reducing misunderstandings, clarifying priorities, exploring areas of compromise and generating options in an attempt to solve the dispute.
 (d) It shall be the duty of the Mediator to emphasize that it is the responsibility of the parties to take their own decisions in arriving at a settlement.
(e) The Mediator/Conciliator shall maintain confidentiality during and after the completion of Mediation/Conciliation.
 (f) The parties should be made to understand that the Mediator only facilitates in helping them to arrive at a decision to resolve disputes and that he cannot and will not impose any settlement.
 (g) Mediator/ Conciliator cannot give any guarantee that the Mediation/ Conciliation will result in a settlement.
 (h) The Mediator/Conciliator shall not proceed with the Mediation/ Conciliation unless and until all the parties to the proceedings have entered appearance before him.
(i) The Mediator/Conciliator shall ensure that all the legal representatives of a deceased party are present or duly represented in the Mediation/ Conciliation Proceedings.
 (j) The Mediator, at the commencement of the Mediation, shall introduce himself or herself, explain the meaning and merits of Mediation, highlighting the voluntary process, neutrality, confidentiality and rules of Mediation.
 (k) The Conciliator at the commencement of the Conciliation shall introduce himself, explain the purpose and merits of settlement, highlighting the voluntary process, neutrality, confidentiality and rules of Conciliation.


RULE 86: PARTIES ALONE RESPONSIBLE FOR TAKING DECISION IN A MEDIATION PROCESS

The parties must understand that the Mediator only facilitates in arriving at a decision to resolve disputes and that he will not and cannot impose any settlement nor does the Mediator give any warranty that the Mediation will result in a settlement. The Mediator shall not impose any decision on the parties.


RULE 87: TIME LIMIT FOR COMPLETION OF MEDIATION / CONCILIATION

On the expiry of sixty days from the date fixed for the first appearance of the parties before the Mediator/ Conciliator, the Mediation/ Conciliation shall stand terminated, unless all the parties to the dispute seek extension of time in writing and the same may be extended by a further period of thirty days.


RULE 88: PARTIES TO ACT IN GOOD FAITH

All parties shall be encouraged to commit themselves to participate in the Mediation/Conciliation proceedings in good faith and with the intention to settle the dispute.


RULE 89: CONFIDENTIALITY, DISCLOSURE AND INADMISSIBILITY OF INFORMATION IN MEDIATION /CONCILIATION

(1) The rules of Confidentiality are as follows:
 (a) It shall be the duty of the Mediator/ Conciliator to explain to the parties that any information that is termed as confidential by the concerned party, will not be disclosed to the other party or parties, without the consent of the disclosing party.
 (b) When a Mediator/ Conciliator receives information termed as “confidential” concerning the dispute from any party, he shall not disclose the substance of that information to the other party, unless permitted in writing by the first party.
 (c) Notes taken during the Mediation/Conciliation process, reports or proposals or counters or other documents either prepared by the Mediator/Conciliator or prepared and circulated by any of the parties or any oral communication made by the parties to the Mediator/Conciliator during a Mediation/Conciliation process shall be destroyed in the presence of the parties on failure to arrive at a settlement. Such information shall not be used or relied upon by the parties in any court proceedings nor can they summon the Mediator/Conciliator to divulge such information before any court or tribunal or any authority. The confidentiality would cover:
     (i) views expressed by a party in the course of Mediation proceedings;
  (ii) documents obtained during the Mediation/ Conciliation which were   expressly required to be treated as confidential or other notes, drafts or information given by parties to Mediators/Conciliators.

   (d)  There shall be no stenographic or audio or video recording of the Mediation / Conciliation proceedings, except if the process is agreed to be done by Online Mediation/ Conciliation.


RULE 90: PRIVACY

The Rules of Privacy are:
 1) Mediation/ Conciliation sessions are private; only the concerned parties and/or their counsel or power of attorney holders can attend. Any other persons may attend the Mediation with the consent of the respective party who desires to rely on the support of such other person and with the permission of the Mediator.

 2) The Mediator/ Conciliator shall not invite any persons not connected with the Mediation/Conciliation to witness the proceedings without the consent of all the parties.

 3) If the Mediator/Conciliator desires to take the assistance of a Co-Mediator/Co-Conciliator or any expert, he shall do so only with the consent of all the parties or their respective counsels.


RULE 91: IMMUNITY

No Mediator/ Conciliator shall be held liable for anything done in good faith or in a bonafide manner, or omitted to be done by him during the Mediation proceedings, for civil or criminal action, nor shall he be summoned by any party to the dispute to appear in any court of law or any tribunal, or any other authority to testify in regard to information received by him or action taken by him or in respect of drafts or records prepared by him or shown to him during the Mediation/Conciliation proceedings. The Mediator/ Conciliator, for the purpose of immunity, shall be protected under Sections 70, 75 and 81 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.


RULE 92: SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

1) The Rules of Settlement are:
a) Where an agreement is reached between the parties in regard to all the issues concerning the dispute or some of the issues, the same shall be reduced to writing and signed by the parties or their respective power of attorney holders or the authorized representatives, if any. If any counsel has represented the parties, he shall attest the signature of their respective client/s.

b) The parties or their respective power of attorney holders or the authorized representatives, if any shall sign each and every page of the settlement agreement.

c) The term authorized representative used in this settlement agreement Rule 92 shall not mean and include any advocate.

 d) Parties other than individuals such as companies, firms, associations, societies, trusts etc., shall also affix their respective seals to the agreement.

e) The Mediator/Conciliator shall not sign on any part of the Settlement Agreement.

 f) The agreement of the parties so signed and attested shall be submitted to the Mediator/Conciliator. The same shall be forwarded by the Mediator/Conciliator with a covering letter to the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre reporting the settlement, along with the certificate that all his fee/expenses have been settled by the parties.

 g) Where no agreement is arrived at between the parties, before the time limit stated in these rules or where, the Mediator/ Conciliator is of the view that no settlement is possible, a report merely stating “Mediation/ Conciliation failed” shall be sent to VIA Mediation Centre.

 h) For the reason that a settlement reached in a Mediation process is evolved by the parties themselves and that the entire process being voluntary and non evaluative, the same shall be binding on all the parties to Mediation and shall not be subject to any challenge or appeal before any court.

(2) In the event the parties to a settlement arrived after a Mediation/Conciliation desire that the settlement so arrived be drawn as a decree in India, they shall have the following two options:
 a) All the parties to the dispute may make a joint application before the State’s Permanent Lok Adalat under Section 22 C of The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, accompanied by the Settlement Agreement arrived at the Mediation/ Conciliation, with a prayer to confirm the same as an Award under Section 22 E of The Legal Services Authorities Act. Every Award confirmed by the Permanent Lok Adalat is deemed to be a decree, which is final and binding on all the parties. Or

 b) The parties on agreeing that a settlement reached out of a Mediation process is a settlement reached after Conciliation, the Mediator shall authenticate the settlement in the capacity of a Conciliator under Section 73 (4) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The status of such a settlement shall be deemed to be a Settlement Arbitral Award under Section 30 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 which is final and binding on all the parties. The said settlement agreement can be enforced as a decree under Section 36 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, subject to payment of stamp duty, if any, as per the local law where the award is to be enforced.


PART 8: NEUTRAL EVALUATION PROCEDURE

RULE 93: SIMPLE NEUTRAL EVALUATION

1) Any party to a dispute, whether or not pending before any court, may, either directly or through a counsel, seek Simple Neutral Evaluation (hereinafter referred to as SNE) with respect to
(a) any specific disputes or
(b) all issues in any pending case or
(c) any or some specific issues in a pending case.

2) Parties may choose to have a common Neutral Evaluator or each of them may choose to have different Neutral Evaluators. Such request should be made in writing to the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre at the time of initially seeking SNE.

3) A Neutral Evaluator shall not advice or represent any of the parties to the dispute during the pendency of such a dispute in a court, arbitration proceeding or any other ADR options other than Integrated Neutral Evaluation as a collaborative settler and for a further period of three years, either from the date of reference for evaluation or from the date of finality of resolution of dispute, either in court or before any other forum, whichever is later.

4) When a party seeks appointment of a Neutral Evaluator he may specifically mention the names of the persons who, in his opinion, are advising either such a party or other parties to the dispute, so that the registry may not appoint such a person as Neutral Evaluator.

 5) It is the duty of a Neutral Evaluator, who has advised any other party on the same matter of dispute, under a SNE, to return the matter to the Registry, without rendering any opinion.

 6) Parties seeking SNE may opt for evaluation from any domain experts, such as engineers, medical practitioners, scientists, technologists, etc., on the panel of VIA Mediation Centre. In the event of non availability of a Neutral Evaluator with special domain expertise, the party may identify such persons/ entities and VIA Mediation Centre may request such person/ entities, to indicate their willingness to be empanelled and render opinion on the questions involved.

 7) The parties as well as their counsels can seek an audience with the Neutral Evaluator at the time of rendering the opinion or advice, subject to payment of such fee as may be mutually agreed between the concerned Neutral Evaluator and the respective party.

 8) On receipt of a requisition for SNE the Registry may collect a nominal administrative fee, as may be prescribed from time to time, and determine an appropriate Neutral Evaluator, as the case may be.

 9) The Registry shall endeavor to process the request immediately by contacting appropriate Neutral Evaluators.

 10) The Registry shall endeavor to appoint a Neutral Evaluator within two (2) weeks from the date of request subject to acceptance and payment of fees as per Schedule 15 of these Rules.


RULE 94: INTEGRATED NEUTRAL EVALUATION

1) Integrated Neutral Evaluation (hereinafter referred to as INE) process is when parties seeking Neutral Evaluation shall have the option at the initial stage to request the Registry to inform the Neutral Evaluator to explore the possibility of a settlement through any other ADR option.

 2) If a common Neutral Evaluator has been appointed by the parties, he shall not function as an arbitrator or mediator however, he can function as a Collaborative Settler.

 3) If each of the parties has appointed a Neutral Evaluator, each of the parties shall request the Registry to appoint such Neutral Evaluators as Collaborative Settlers, when required.

 4) Parties to a Neutral Evaluation may, by way of a separate application, request the Registry for adopting any of the ADR options such as Arbitration/ Mediation/ Conciliation, as the case may be, for the dispute referred for Neutral Evaluation.

5) Appropriate rules of Mediation, Arbitration and Conciliation would apply to the disputes referred by the Neutral Evaluators for Mediation, Arbitration or Conciliation, as the case may be, under the respective applicable fees. Parties are requested to refer the respective rules available in the website of VIA Mediation Centre.
6) Rules for appointment of Neutral Evaluators for Simple Neutral Evaluation Process shall apply to appointment of Neutral Evaluators for Integrated Neutral Evaluator.


RULE 95: PARTIES

 (1) In Neutral Evaluation, subject to the approval of the Neutral Evaluator, the Parties may participate in person or depute authorized representatives on their behalf. The parties may also be assisted by legal advisers if the parties so desire.

(2) The parties shall be deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by the terms of these Rules, once they make a reference to VIA Mediation Centre.


RULE 96: THE NEUTRAL EVALUATOR

 (1) If any of the parties has any valid reason to object to an appointment, the objection shall be made in writing to the Centre. The Centre will then appoint another Neutral Evaluator within two (2) weeks from the date of the receipt of the objection.

(2) A Neutral Evaluator shall disclose promptly to VIA Mediation Centre, any circumstances which may give rise to conflict of interest, lack of independence, deviation from impartiality or any circumstances or things that prevent him from discharging his duties as a Neutral Evaluator. This duty of disclosure is a continuing duty and should circumstances which may give rise to justifiable doubts as to his independence or impartiality arise during the course of the Neutral Evaluation, the Neutral Evaluator shall advise VIA Mediation Centre immediately.


RULE 97: REMOVAL OF NEUTRAL EVALUATOR

 (1) If any of the parties brings to the notice of the Registrar with sufficient proof that a Neutral Evaluator has committed a breach or failed to function in a neutral manner, he may be removed from the relevant case. In such cases, VIA Mediation Centre may, in consultation with the concerned Neutral Evaluator, direct the concerned Neutral Evaluator to refund the entire fee to the concerned party.

(2) Upon receipt of any such disclosure by any of the parties or removal of the Neutral Evaluator, the Centre shall appoint another person as the Neutral Evaluator within two (2) weeks of receipt of such disclosure by the parties. In an event as per above clause no additional administrative fee will be charged by VIA Mediation Centre.

(3)The Neutral Evaluator shall:
(a) Prepare himself appropriately before the commencement of the Neutral Evaluation; and
 (b) Abide by the terms of the Neutral Evaluator’s Code of Conduct.

(4) If the Neutral Evaluator is unable to continue in his appointment, VIA Mediation Centre shall appoint a substitute Neutral Evaluator within two (2) weeks from the date VIA Mediation Centre receives the Neutral Evaluator’s notice of his inability to continue in the Neutral Evaluation.

(5) If a Neutral Evaluator resigns or is replaced, the proceedings shall resume at the stage where the said Neutral Evaluator had ceased to perform his functions, unless the replacement Neutral Evaluator decides that any part of the prior proceedings are to be repeated, subject to the approval of the party or parties.

(6) VIA Mediation Centre is not liable for any acts of omission or commission of any Neutral Evaluator. The Neutral Evaluator is neither an employee nor an agent of VIA Mediation Centre. A service engagement between the parties and Neutral Evaluator is deemed as one which is based on principal to principal.


RULE 98: PROCESS OF NEUTRAL EVALUATION

1) Parties shall furnish to VIA Mediation Centre their respective statements for evaluation which shall contain:
 (a) the nature and basis of the dispute;
 (b) the facts and legal issues involved in the dispute;
 (c) the respective party’s contentions as to those issues; and
 (d) the issues that the party/ parties desire to be evaluated.


RULE 99: THE OPINION

(1) The Neutral Evaluator shall serve his opinion on VIA Mediation Centre within two (2) weeks from the date of the last Evaluation Session(s).

(2) The Neutral Evaluator shall provide an Opinion which is reasoned and in writing.

(3) The Neutral Evaluator's opinion shall be based on the submissions and materials presented to the Neutral by parties. The Neutral Evaluator shall not carry out any independent investigation, due diligence or verification of information placed before him/her without the consent of the concerned party or parties as the case may be.

(4) The Neutral shall forward a duly signed opinion (Hard Copy as well as in PDF format by email) to VIA Mediation Centre to be authenticated and he shall not forward the same to the parties directly.

(5) On receipt of the opinion from the Neutral Evaluator, VIA Mediation Centre shall verify and confirm whether the same is in order and a signed copy from the Neutral Evaluator shall be forwarded to the concerned parties.


RULE 100: RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE AND CONFIDENTIALITY

(1) This Neutral Evaluation process is entirely private and confidential. All parties involved shall keep the matter fully confidential.

(2) Any person attending the hearing may do so only by way of written consent of the parties and the Neutral Evaluator.

(3) The Neutral Evaluation shall be conducted in confidence. In particular, if a meeting is convened:
 (a) No transcript, audio or video recording or other formal record, shall be made at any stage of the Neutral Evaluation.
 (b) Only the Neutral Evaluator, the parties and/ or their representatives and/ or legal advisers shall be permitted to participate during the Neutral Evaluation.

(4) Unless the parties agree otherwise, all communications expressed and disclosed in the course of the Neutral Evaluation, including all materials prepared and/ or rendered and/ or exchanged for purposes of the Neutral Evaluation shall be kept confidential, treated as ‘without prejudice’ and shall not be offered as evidence in any other proceedings.


PART 9: POWERS OF THE CENTRE

RULE 101: CONTEMPT OF ORDERS OF ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

(a) The Arbitral Tribunal is empowered to represent to any appropriate Court of law and seek penalty or punishment of any party who is in contempt of any order of the Arbitral Tribunal or any proceedings before it.

(b) The Arbitral Tribunal is further empowered to represent to any Court of Law and seek penalty and punishment, in respect of persons failing to attend in accordance with such process, or making any other default or refusing to give their evidence or are guilty of any contempt to the Arbitral Tribunal in respect of the conduct of the arbitral proceedings and for such purpose, may engage legal assistance on terms to be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal.


RULE 102: PARTIES TO COMPLY WITH ORDERS/DIRECTIONS OF ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

The parties to the dispute and any witness on their behalf, shall be subjects to the provisions of any law for the time being in force:

(a) Submit to be examined by the Arbitral Tribunal on oath or affirmation, in relation to the matters in dispute.

(b) Produce before the Arbitral Tribunal all books, deeds, papers, accounts, writings and documents in their possession or power respectively which may be required or called for by the Arbitral Tribunal, at the instance of the other party to the dispute.

(c) Comply with the requirements of the Arbitral Tribunal as to the production or selection of samples, and

(d) Generally do all other things which during the pendency of the reference, the Arbitral Tribunal may require for the due and proper conduct of arbitration proceedings.


RULE 103: POWERS OF TRIBUNAL WHILE ADJUDICATING DISPUTES

(1)The Arbitral Tribunal will consider, as far as possible to receive the evidence of witnesses by affidavit, provided that the witness whose affidavit is admitted in evidence, is made available for cross-examination at the request of the opposite party subject to the law applicable.

The Arbitral Tribunal may:-
 (a) Administer oath or affirmation to the parties or witnesses appearing and giving evidence;
(b) Make any interim order, in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996;
 (c) Correct in any award, any clerical mistake or error, arising from or incidental to any slip or omission;
 (d) Administer to the parties to the arbitration or other persons, such interrogatories as it may consider necessary
 (e) Decide all objections to its jurisdiction
(f) Decide in accordance with the law governing
(i) the contract or the matter in dispute,
(ii) the arbitration agreement, and
(iii) the arbitration procedure.

 (g) The power of the Arbitral Tribunal includes the power to determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of any evidence.
(h) In matters of procedure the Arbitral Tribunal though not bound shall be guided by the powers as are vested in a Civil Court under Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (5 of 1908) while trying a suit in respect of the following matters namely :-
(i) the summoning and enforcing the attendance of any defendant or witness and examining the witness on oath;
(ii) the discovery and production of any document or other material object producible as evidence;
(iii) the reception of evidence on affidavits;
(iv) the requisitioning of the report of the concerned analysis or test from the appropriate laboratory or from any other relevant source;
(v) issuing of any commission for the examination of any witness, and
(vi) any other matter which may be prescribed under the Act.
(i) The Arbitral Tribunal may award interest at such rate as it deems reasonable, on the whole or any part of the money, for the whole or any part of the period between the date on which the cause of action arose and the date on which the award is made as also for the period the award or any part of it remains unsatisfied in accordance with section 31 (7b) of The Arbitration & Conciliation Act 1996.

(j) Any matter not provided for expressly in these rules will be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal in a manner it deems fit.


RULE 104: COMPETENCE OF ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL TO RULE ON ITS OWN JURISDICTION

1) The Arbitral Tribunal may rule on its own jurisdiction, including ruling on any objections with respect to the existence or validity of the arbitration agreement and for that purpose,
 (a) an arbitration clause which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract; and
 (b) a decision by the Arbitral Tribunal that the contract is null and void, shall not entail by itself the invalidity of the arbitration clause.
(2) A plea that the Arbitral Tribunal does not have jurisdiction shall be raised not later than the submission of the statement of defence; however a party shall not be precluded from raising such a plea merely because he has appointed or participated in the appointment of an Arbitrator.
(3) A plea that the Arbitral Tribunal is exceeding the scope of its authority shall be raised as soon as the matter alleged to be beyond the scope of its authority is raised during the arbitral proceedings.
(4) The Arbitral Tribunal may in either of the cases referred to in sub-section (b) or subsection (c) admit a later plea if it considers the delay justified.
(5) The Arbitral Tribunal shall decide on a plea referred to in sub-section (b) or sub-section (c) and where the Arbitral Tribunal takes a decision rejecting the plea, continue with the arbitral proceedings and make an arbitral award.


RULE 105: POWER TO DISMISS APPLICATION OR CLAIM

1) The Arbitral Tribunal may dismiss the application or claim where, without sufficient cause:
 (a) the claimant does not prosecute the arbitration proceedings or file the papers within the time granted or extended time.
 (b) or neglects or refuses to pay the dues or deposits ordered to be paid by the Arbitral Tribunal or VIA Mediation Centre.


RULE 106: AMIABLE COMPOSITEUR

1) The Arbitral Tribunal, if the parties so desire expressly in writing, shall resolve the dispute submitted to it ex aequo et bono or as amiable compositeur.

2) When the parties agree that the Arbitral Tribunal shall resolve the dispute ex aequo et bono or as amiable compositeur, they vest an authority to decide the matter in dispute according to equity and good conscience, or to take a decision as per trade practice and usage, or to give effect to the intentions of the parties as gathered from surrounding circumstances, in preference to giving literal meaning to the words incorporated in the contract.


PART 10A: ARBITRATION

RULE 107 : DOMESTIC FEES

DOMESTIC FEES
(a) Registration Charges
(i) Filing Fee: Rs. 10,000 for two parties + 3000 additional party
(ii) Consultation / Orientation Fee (If availed): Rs. 3000
   (b) Arbitrator Fee
The below table is for Arbitrators who follow VIA Mediation Centre Fee Schedule (Grade B and Grade C)[1]


[1] For Grade A arbitrators, the arbitrators shall have the sole and unfettered discretion to decide upon the fees to be charged.
 

    

Sl No.
QUANTUM OF CLAIM (In Indian Rupees)
ARBITRATOR FEE    (Grade C)                                      (In Indian  Rupees)                           (per arbitrator)
(X)
ARBITRATOR  FEE                (Grade B)                                                    (In Indian  Rupees)                                        (per arbitrator)
(Y)
1.
Up to 5,00,000
30,000
X+30% of X
2.
5,00,001                            to                                25,00,000
30,000+ 1500 per lakh or part thereof, exceeding 5,00,000
X+30% of X
3.
25,00,001                           to                                        1,00,00,000
60,000 + 1200 per lakh or part thereof, exceeding 25,00,000
X+30% of X
4.
1,00,00,001                                        to                                             5,00,00,000
1,50,000 + 20,000 per crore or part thereof, exceeding 1,00,00,000
X+30% of X
5.
5,00,00,001 to 10,00,00,000
2,10,000 + 15,000 per crore or part thereof, exceeding 5,00,000
X+30% of X
6.
Exceeds 10,00,00,000
2,85,000 + 10,000 per crore or part thereof, exceeding 10,00,00,000, subject to an aggregate limit of Rs. 10,00,000
X+30% of X
( c) Administrative Fee:
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In Indian Rupees)
ADMINISTRATIVE  FEE
(In Indian  Rupees)
 
 
Up to 25,00,000
 
15,000.00
Plus 1250.00 per one lakh or part thereof
 
 
25,00,001 to 1,00,00,000
 
40,000.00
Plus 750.00 per one lakh or part thereof
 
 
1,00,00,001 to 10,00,00,000
 
96,250.00
Plus 200 per one lakh or part thereof
 
 
10,00,00,001 to 25,00,00,000
 
2,76,250.00
Plus 125.00 per one lakh or part thereof
More than 25,00,00,000
4,63,475.00
Plus 750.00 per one lakh or part thereof with a ceiling of 10,00,000.00
*For disputes where claim cannot be quantified or ascertained, the fee shall be finalised by VIA, on the basis of facts.

(d) Additional Fees For The Arbitral Tribunal
(i) Interpretation, correction or additional Award (Per Arbitrator) :
Up to Rs. 25,00,000.00:                                           Rs. 10,000.00
From Rs. 25,00,001.00 to Rs. 1,00,00,000.00:           Rs. 25,000.00
More than Rs. 1,00,00,000.00:                               Rs. 50,000.00
(ii) Scrutiny Fees: (Per Member)
Up to Rs. 25,00,000.00:                                           Rs. 15,000.00
From Rs. 25,00,001.00 to Rs. 1,00,00,000.00:           Rs. 25,000.00
More than Rs. 1,00,00,000.00:                               Rs. 50,000.00
(e) Travel, Boarding & Lodging Charges
(i)Local Sitting: Travelling allowance of Rs. 1000 per sitting.
(ii)Outstation Sitting: Actual by Air, Rail or Car, plus out-of-pocket expenses at actual for boarding, lodging and local transport subject to maximum of Rs 10,000.00 per day in Metropolitan cities and Rs. 7,500.00 per day in other cities. An arbitrator who makes his own arrangements for boarding, lodging, local transport etc. may be paid out of pocket expenses at the rate of Rs 5000.00 per day, without production of vouchers.
(f) Charges for Facilities :
(i)   Venue Charges: 5,000 per day i.e. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
(ii)  Wi-FI Charges: Rs. 500 for two hours
(iii) Documentation Camera charges: Rs. 500 for two hours
(iv) Stenographic service charges (optional): Rs. 1,000
(g) Fee Payment Schedule
(i) Registration Charges:
Filing fee to be paid by the Claimant on filing of Notice of Arbitration.
Consultation/Orientation fee (if availed) to be paid by the Party at the time of taking appointment.
Application filing fee to be paid by the party making the application.
Arbitral Tribunal & Administrative Fee:
(i) 25% To be deposited by the Claimant at the time of filing the Claim statement.
(ii) 25% To be deposited by the respondent at the time of filing the Response or Statement of Defence.
(iii) 30% To be deposited by the Parties [Claimant and Respondent(s)] equally within 10 days of the completion of pleadings.
(iv) 20% To be deposited by the Parties [Claimant and Respondent(s)] equally before the hearing date.
(v) Balance To be deposited by the Parties [Claimant and Respondent(s)] within 10 days after the matter is reserved for award.


RULE 108 : INTERNATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL
(a) Registration Charges
(i) Filing Fee: US 500$ (for arbitration)
    (b) Filing of Application
Interpretation, correction or additional Award: US$ 150.00
Scrutiny of Award: US$ 300.00
   (c ) Arbitrator Fee
(For Arbitrators who follow VIA Fee Schedule[1])
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In US Dollars)
ARBITRATOR  FEE (Grade C)
(In US Dollars)
(X)
ARBITRATOR  FEE(Grade B)
 (per arbitrator)
(Y)
 
Up to 50,000
 
2500
X+30% of X
 
50,001 to 100,000
 
 2500 + 2 % of the amount exceeding 50,000
X+30% of X
 
100,001 to 2,50,000
 
4000 + 1 % of the amount exceeding 100,000
X+30% of X
2,50,001 to 5,00,000
 
5,500 + 0.5% of the amount exceeding
2,50,000
X+30% of X
Over 500,000
6,750 + 0.25 % of the amount exceeding 500,000 Subject to a maximum of USD 30,000
 
X+30% of X
 
(d) Additional fees for the arbitral tribunal:
(Per Arbitrator)
Interpretation, correction or additional Award:
Up US$ 50,000:                                       US$ 750
From US$ 50,001 to US$ 1,000,000:      US$ 1250
More than US$ 1,000,000:                          US$ 2500
Scrutiny Fees: (Per Member)
Up US$ 50,000:                                       US$ 750
From US$ 50,001 to US$ 1,000,000:      US$ 1250
More than US$ 1,000,000:                          US$ 2500


[1] For Grade A arbitrators, the arbitrators shall have the sole and unfettered discretion to decide upon the fees to be charged.
(e) Administrative fees
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In US Dollars)
ADMINISTRATION  FEES
(In US Dollars)
 
Up to 50,000
 
1,000
 
50,001 to 100,000
 
 1000 + 2 % of the amount exceeding 50,000
 
100,001 to 500,000
 
2000 + 1 % of the amount exceeding 100,000
500,001 to 1,000,000
 
6000 + 0.4% of the amount exceeding
500,000
Over 1,000,000
8000 + 0.25 % of the amount exceeding 1,000,000
 
(f) Travel, boarding & lodging charges
(i) Local Sitting: Travelling allowance of US$ 75.00 per sitting.
(ii) Outstation Sitting: Actual's by Air and out-of-pocket expenses at actuals for boarding, lodging and local transport subject to maximum of US$ 350.00 per day
(g) Charges for facilities:
(i)  Venue Charges: VIA venue: 400$
(ii) Wi-Fi Charges: 50$
(iii) Documentation Camera charges: 50$ for 2 hours
(iv) Stenographic service charges (optional): 100$
(h) Fee payment schedule
(i) Registration Charges:
Filing fee to be paid by the Claimant on filing of Notice of Arbitration.
Application filing fee to be paid by the party making the application.
Arbitral Tribunal & Administrative Fee:
(i) 25% to be deposited by the Claimant at the time of filing the Claim statement.
(ii) 25% to be deposited by the respondent at the time of filing the Response or Statement of Defence.
(iii) 30% To be deposited by the Parties [Claimant and Respondent(s)] equally within 10 days of the completion of pleadings.
(iv) 20% To be deposited by the Parties [Claimant and Respondent(s)] equally before the hearing date.
(v) Balance To be deposited by the Parties [Claimant and Respondent(s)] within 10 days after the matter is reserved for award.


PART 10B: MEDIATION & CONCILIATION

RULE 109 : DOMESTIC

DOMESTIC
(a) Registration charges:
Filing Fee: Rs. 10,000 for two parties + 3000 additional party
Consultation / Orientation Fee (If availed):          Rs. 2000

     (b) Mediator fee
(For Grade A, B and C Mediators- Per Mediator)
(For Mediators who follow VIA Fee Schedule)[1]
 
     (i) Commercial disputes
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In Indian Rupees)
MEDIATOR  FEE
(In Indian  Rupees)
 
 
Up to 25,00,000
 
Grade B
Per Session: 3,500.00
Total Fee: 25,000.00
 
Grade C
Per Session: 3,000.00
Total Fee: 20,000.00
 
 
 
 
25,00,001 to 1,00,00,000
 
Grade A
Per Session: 7,500.00
Total Fee: 50,000.00
 
Grade B
Per Session: 5,000.00
Total Fee: 35,000.00
 
Grade C
Per Session: 3,500.00
Total Fee: 25,000.00
 
 
Above 1,00,00,000
 
Grade A
Per Session:10,000.00
Total Fee: 70,000.00
 
Grade B
Per Session: 7,500.00
Total Fee: 50,000.00
 
 
Claim not Quantified
 
Grade A
Per Session: 7,500.00
Total Fee: 50,000.00
 
Grade B
Per Session: 5,000.00
Total Fee: 35,000.00
 
Grade C
Per Session: 3,500.00
Total Fee: 25,000
 
(ii) Family disputes
 
GRADE-C
Mediator Fee
GRADE-B
Mediator Fee
GRADE-A
Mediator Fee
 
First Session: Rs. 3,000.00
Per Session: Rs. 2,500.00
(with a ceiling of Rs. 30,000)
 
First Session: Rs. 4,000.00
Per Session: Rs. 3,500.00
(with a ceiling of Rs. 50,000)
 
First Session: Rs. 5,500.00
Per Session: Rs. 5,000.00
(with a ceiling of Rs. 70,000)
*One Session: 3 hours or part thereof
*If mediation exceeds to more than 15 sessions, an additional fees of 20% is applicable.
 
(c) Administrative fee
  (i) Commercial disputes
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In Indian Rupees)
ADMINISTRATIVE  FEE
(In Indian  Rupees)
 
 
Up to 25,00,000
 
15,000.00
 
Plus 1250.00 per one lakh or part thereof
 
 
25,00,001 to 1,00,00,000
 
40,000.00
 
Plus 750.00 per one lakh or part thereof
 
 
1,00,00,001 to 10,00,00,000
 
96,250.00
 
Plus 200 per one lakh or part thereof
 
 
10,00,00,001 to 25,00,00,000
 
2,76,250.00
 
Plus 125.00 per one lakh or part thereof
More than 25,00,00,000
4,63,475.00
 
Plus 750.00 per one lakh or part thereof with a ceiling of 10,00,000.00
*For disputes where claim cannot be quantified or ascertained, the fee shall be finalised by VIA, on the basis of facts.
 
(ii)Family disputes
 
ADMINISTRATIVE FEES (In Indian Rupees)
 
First Session
 
1750.00
Per Session
1500.00 (With a ceiling of 12.500.00)s
*One Session: 3 hours or part thereof
*If mediation exceeds to more than 15 sessions, an additional fees of 20% is applicable.
 
(d) Travel, Boarding & Lodging Charges
(i)Travel, Boarding & Lodging for Grade-C Mediators:
Local Sitting: Travelling allowance of Rs. 400 per sitting.
Outstation Sitting: Actuals by Air, Rail or Car, plus out-of-pocket expenses at actuals for boarding, lodging and local transport subject to maximum of Rs 4000.00 per day in Metropolitan cities and Rs. 3000.00per day in other cities. A mediator who makes his own arrangements for boarding, lodging, local transport etc. may be paid out of pocket expenses at the rate of Rs 1500.00 per day, without production of vouchers.
(ii) Travel, Boarding & Lodging for Grade-B Mediators:
Local Sitting: Travelling allowance of Rs. 500 per sitting.
Outstation Sitting: Actuals by Air, Rail or Car, plus out-of-pocket expenses at actuals for boarding, lodging and local transport subject to maximum of Rs.5000.00 per day in Metropolitan cities and Rs. 4000.00 per day in other cities. A mediator who makes his own arrangements for boarding, lodging, local transport etc. may be paid out of pocket expenses at the rate of Rs. 2500 per day, without production of vouchers.
(iii) Travel, Boarding & Lodging for Grade-A Mediators:
Local Sitting: Travelling allowance of Rs. 750 per sitting.
Outstation Sitting: Actuals by Air, Rail or Car, plus out-of-pocket expenses at actuals for boarding, lodging and local transport subject to maximum of Rs 7500 per day in Metropolitan cities and Rs.6000 per day in other cities. A mediator who makes his own arrangements for boarding, lodging, local transport etc. may be paid out of pocket expenses at the rate of Rs. 4000 per day, without production of vouchers.
(e)      Charges for facilities:
i. Venue Charges: 5,000 per day i.e. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
ii. Wi-Fi Charges: Rs. 500 for two hours
iii.Documentation Camera charges: Rs. 500 for two hours
iv. Stenographic service charges (optional): Rs. 1,000
(f)  FEE PAYMENT SCHEDULE
Registration Charges: To be paid by the Initiating Party at the time of filing of Request.
Mediator & Administrative Fee:
(i) Once the mediator is appointed, the initiating party shall make a deposit for 2 sessions of mediator fee and administrative fee.
(ii) If the mediation is abandoned due the absence of the opposite party or due to non-agreement in the first session itself, the balance amount will be refunded to the initiating party.
(iii) After the first session, both parties shall always keep a deposit of mediator and administrative fee of 2 sessions in advance. After the conclusion of the mediation, the amount will be settled.


RULE 110 : INTERNATIONAL

INTERNATIONAL
(a) Registration charges:
Filing Fee: US 350$ (for mediation)
    (b) Mediator fee :
(Per Mediator)
(For Mediators who follow VIA Fee Schedule)
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In US Dollars)
MEDIATOR  FEE
(In US Dollars)
upto 50,000
Per session: 350.00
Total Fee: 2500.00
From 50,001 to 500,000
Per session: 500.00
Total Fee: 3500.00
From 500,001 to 1,000,000
Per session: 1250.00
Total Fee: 7500.00
From 1,000,001 to 5,000,000
Per session: 1750.00
Total Fee: 12,250.00
More than 5,000,000
Per session: 2000.00
Total Fee: 15,000.00
If the dispute cannot be quantified
Per session: 750.00
Total Fee: 5500.00
* One session - 3 hours or part thereof
* Session includes, mediation session and pre-mediation conference.
* If the mediation extents to more than 10 sessions, an additional fee of 25% is payable and if the mediation extents to more than 20 sessions, an additional 50% is payable, as the total fee.
 
(c) Administrative fee
QUANTUM OF CLAIM
(In US Dollars)
ADMINISTRATION  FEES
(In US Dollars)
 
Up to 50,000
 
1,000
 
50,001 to 100,000
 
 1000 + 2 % of the amount exceeding 50,000
 
100,001 to 500,000
 
2000 + 1 % of the amount exceeding 100,000
500,001 to 1,000,000
 
6000 + 0.4% of the amount exceeding
500,000
Over 1,000,000
8000 + 0.25 % of the amount exceeding 1,000,000
 
(d) Travel, boarding & lodging charges:
Local Sitting: Travelling allowance of US$ 75.00 per sitting.
Outstation Sitting: Actuals by Air and out-of-pocket expenses at actuals for boarding, lodging and local transport subject to maximum of US$ 350.00 per day.
(e) Charges for facilities:
i. Venue Charges: VIA venue: 400$
ii. Wi-FI Charges: 50$
iii. Documentation Camera charges: 50$ for 2 hours
iv. Stenographic service charges (optional): 100$
 (f) Fee payment schedule
Registration Charges: To be paid by the Initiating Party at the time of filing of Request.
Mediator & Administrative Fee:
(i) Once the mediator is appointed, the initiating party shall make a deposit of 2 sessions of mediator fee and administrative fee.
(ii) If the mediation is abandoned due the absence of the opposite party or due to non-agreement in the first session itself, the balance amount will be refunded to the initiating party.
(iii) After the first session, both parties shall always keep a deposit of mediator and administrative fee of 2 sessions in advance. After the conclusion of the mediation, the amount will be settled.
 


[1] For Mediators not following the VIA Fee Schedule, the mediator fee will be based on the rates charged by the mediators.


PART 10C: NEUTRAL EVALUATION

RULE 111 : The Fees and costs for Neutral Evaluation shall be as same as prescribed for Mediation .


PART 11: ONLINE FILING AND ONLINE ADR

RULE 112 : ONLINE FILING AND ONLINE ADR

 1) VIA Mediation Centre may provide for online filing (e-filing) of claims and other pleadings and this facility shall come into force after necessary infrastructure is in place and functional and on a date that may be notified by the Director.

 2) The parties interested in online Arbitration should primarily get themselves registered online and will be assigned an encrypted password. VIA Mediation Centre is not responsible for data protection/privacy of information submitted online.
 
 3) The Claimant qualifying under Rules 2 and 3 supra would request the Registrar for Online Arbitration. Such a request should contain a summary of the dispute along with a scanned copy of notice issued by the said party under Rule 2 and a declaration that the documents that are to be relied upon by him are not in dispute.

 4) The Registrar, may, at his discretion, permit online dispute resolution, after satisfying himself that the dispute can be resolved by a single arbitrator, without the physical presence of all the parties/ their counsels at one place, using simple and uncomplicated technologies of video conferencing facilities (internet based or otherwise), as may be determined by the Executive Board, from time to time, to enable interaction between the parties and the arbitrator.

 5) If the Registrar is convinced that the dispute referred can be resolved online, he may write to the opposite party seeking his consent for the same. Such a communication should clearly detail the technical specifications of the facility that is to be installed by the party concerned to enable online dispute resolution.

6) Unless all the parties to the dispute agree for online dispute resolution, the Registrar shall not give his consent for the same.

 7) On obtaining the approval of the Registrar, the notice of online Arbitration is deemed to have commenced.

 8) Thereafter, the parties shall upload the data by scanning the pleadings and all the documents that are being relied upon. Each such pleading should bear the signature and seal of the party. The documents that are relied upon should be duly notarized as true copy of the original or certified by their counsel that he has inspected the original with an undertaking to produce the original for inspection to any person authorized by VIA Mediation Centre and also whenever the same is demanded by the Tribunal or by the opposing party or parties for inspection.

 9) The uploaded documents can be accessed and print-outs taken by the other parties using the dedicated encrypted password. Such downloaded documents would have an endorsement, “This document has been relied upon in Arbitration Proceedings before the Tribunal and does not amount to be a certified copy.”

 10) For the purpose of Online Arbitration, Rules 15,16,17,19, 20,22,30,32, 38,39,40,41,42,43,49, 50,55,58,65, 68,69, 90, Schedule 14 and 15 herein would apply.

11) The Tribunal shall, as much as possible, follow Rule 54 of this rules. However, if in the opinion of the Tribunal, online arbitration of the dispute is not feasible on account of practical or technical issues, that have to be resolved and/or that such a resolution may not happen unless the parties are physically present, he may, after issuing notice to the parties and the Registrar, convert an arbitration into regular arbitration. Under such circumstances, either the Online Arbitrator so appointed may continue as the Arbitrator, or, depending upon the circumstances, the Registrar may appoint any other arbitrator. In such an event, the cost and fee structure shall be determined in accordance with the Schedule and subject to Part 10 A of  Fees & Costs of Arbitration.

12) For online Arbitration, the parties may agree to have a common seat of Arbitration; however, in the event of a dispute regarding the same, the Registrar may decide on the seat of Arbitration and such a decision is final and binding on the parties.

13) The Registrar may, at his discretion, permit online filing of pleadings and documents, including applications and affidavits in regular arbitration proceedings (not being online Arbitration), provided the Arbitrator and all the parties agree to such a proposal of any of the parties.


PART 12: FUNDS & ACCOUNTS

RULE 113: FUNDS & ACCOUNTS

(1)The funds of VIA Mediation Centre shall include the following :-
Membership fees and subscription received by VIA Mediation Centre;
Fees and charges for services provided and facilities extended by the VIA Mediation Centre to parties;
Donations, grants, contributions and income from other sources; and
 Income from investments.
(2) The Governing Council may, by resolution, authorize one or more officers to operate and maintain the accounts of VIA Mediation Centre subject to such conditions as it may determine.
(3) The Governing Council shall maintain proper accounts and other relevant records and prepare an annual statement of accounts including the balance sheet in such forms as may be approved by the General Body.
(4) The Accounts of VIA Mediation Centre shall be audited annually by auditors appointed for the purpose by the General Body and any expenditure incurred in connection with the audit of accounts of the Society shall be payable by VIA Mediation Centre. The Auditors shall have the right to demand production of books, accounts, connected vouchers and other documents and papers. The nature of audit to be applied and the detailed arrangements to be made in regard to the form of accounts and their maintenance and the presentation of the accounts may be prescribed by this Rules.


PART 13: ENDOWMENTS AND GIFTS

RULE 114 : ENDOWMENTS AND GIFTS

1) The Governing Council shall have power to enter into arrangements with the public or private organisations, individuals or the Government for securing and accepting endowments, grants-in-aid, donations or gifts to VIA Mediation Centre on mutually agreed terms and conditions provided that the conditions of such grants-in-aid, donations, or gifts, if any, shall not be inconsistent or in conflict with the objects of VIA Mediation Centre.
2) The Governing Council shall have power to take over and acquire by purchase, gift or otherwise, from Government or other public or private organizations or individuals, immovable properties, endowments or funds, together with any attendant obligations and engagements not inconsistent with the objects VIA Mediation Centre.


PART 14: AMENDMENT & INTERPRETATION

RULE 115: AMENDMENT OF RULES

The Board of Directors of VIA Mediation Centre in consultation with the Governing Council for Arbitration may revise, amend or alter these rules or the schedule of fees and other amounts. Such amendment shall however not affect existing proceedings unless specifically made applicable.


RULE 116: INTERPRETATION OF THESE RULES

In case of any doubt regarding the meaning or interpretation of these rules, the same may be referred to the Board of Directors of VIA Mediation Centre by the parties or the Arbitrators appointed by VIA Mediation Centre. The decision of the Board of Directors on any question relating to interpretation of these rules shall be final and binding on the parties and the arbitrators.


PART 15: CONDUCT

RULE 117: NEUTRALS

(1) Parties shall furnish to VIA Mediation Centre their respective statements for evaluation which shall contain:
(a) the nature and basis of the dispute;
(b) the facts and legal issues involved in the dispute;
(c) the respective party’s contentions as to those issues; and
(d) the issues that the party/ parties desire to be evaluated.


RULE 118: PARTIES

(1) The claimant should file the applications or demand for arbitration to the Registrar of VIA Mediation Centre with all the information and papers as per Rules, full statement of claim and copies of documents relied upon, in 3 sets in case of a Sole Arbitrator and in 5 sets in case of three arbitrators.

(2) The respondent should file his reply to the claim with complete information and documents relied upon, in 3 or 5 sets as above as early as possible within the prescribed time. Fresh documentation/claims should not be entertained at a later stage of the proceedings unless the arbitral tribunal is satisfied about the reasons for granting such permission.

(3) Parties should deposit arbitration and administrative fees with VIA Mediation Centre within the stipulated time, as per the Rules and no extension should be sought in this behalf except for compelling reasons.

(4) To avoid excessive costs in arbitration proceedings, the parties are advised to choose their arbitrators from the Panel, as far as possible from the place where the arbitration hearings have to be held. In case, a party still chooses an arbitrator from a place other than the place of hearing, the concerned party will bear the entire extra cost to be incurred on stay TA/DA etc. of the arbitrator nominated by it.


RULE 119: ADR COMMITTEE

(1) The Arbitration Committee of VIA Mediation Centre may examine the arbitration case file, from time to time to evaluate the progress of the proceedings and to ascertain whether the arbitrators have granted adjournments only on reasonable grounds.

(2) The Arbitration Committee shall be sole judge of the grounds of violation of the guidelines and its decision shall be final and binding on the arbitral tribunal as well as the parties.


PART 16: INDEMNITY

RULE 120: INDEMNITY

(1) Any arbitrator, including any Emergency Arbitrator, any person appointed by the Tribunal, including any administrative secretary and any expert, the Director, members of the Court, and any directors, officers and employees of VIA Mediation Centre, shall not be liable to any person for any negligence, act or omission in connection with any arbitration administered by VIA Mediation Centre in accordance with these Rules.

(2) VIA Mediation Centre, including the Director, members of the Centre,, officers, employees or any arbitrator, including any Emergency Arbitrator, and any person appointed by the Tribunal, including any administrative secretary and any expert, shall not be under any obligation to make any statement in connection with any arbitration administered by VIA Mediation Centre in accordance with these Rules. No party shall seek to make the Director, any member of the Court, director, officer, employee of SIAC, or any arbitrator, including any Emergency Arbitrator, and any person appointed by the Tribunal, including any administrative secretary and any expert, act as a witness in any legal proceedings in connection with any arbitration administered by VIA Mediation Centre in accordance with these Rules.


PART 17: CONFIDENTIALITY

RULE 121: CONFIDENTIALITY

(1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a party and any arbitrator, including any Emergency Arbitrator, and any person appointed by the Tribunal, including any administrative secretary and any expert, shall at all times treat all matters relating to the proceedings and the Award as confidential. The discussions and deliberations of the Tribunal shall be confidential.

(2) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a party and any arbitrator, including any Emergency Arbitrator, and any person appointed by the Tribunal, including any administrative secretary and any expert, shall not without the prior written consent of the parties, disclose to a third party any such matter except.

(a) for the purpose of making an application to any competent court of any State to enforce or challenge the award.
(b) pursuant to the order of or a subpoena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction;
(c) for the purpose of pursuing or enforcing a legal right or claim;
(d) in compliance with the provisions of the laws of any State which are binding on the party making the disclosure or the request or requirement of any regulatory body or other authority;
(e) pursuant to an order by the Tribunal on application by a party with proper notice to the other parties; or
(f) For the purpose of any application under sub rule 12 of Rule 54 (Joinder of Additional Parties).

(3) In the above sub rule 1 of this Rule 116, “matters relating to the proceedings” includes the existence of the proceedings, and the pleadings, evidence and other materials in the arbitral proceedings and all other documents produced by another party in the proceedings or the Award arising from the proceedings, but excludes any matter that is otherwise in the public domain.

(4) The Tribunal has the power to take appropriate measures, including issuing an order or Award for sanctions or costs, if a party breaches the provisions of this Rule.


PART 18: GENERAL

RULE 122: WAIVER

Any party who proceeds with the arbitration with the knowledge that any provision or requirement of these rules has not been complied with and who fails to state his objection thereto in writing, without undue delay or if a time limit is provided for stating the objection, within that period of time to VIA Mediation Centre or the Arbitral Tribunal as the case may be, shall be deemed to have waived his right to object.


RULE 123: DOCUMENTS FILED BEFORE ARBITRAL TRIBUNAL

Unless there is any specific requirement in law, the Arbitral Tribunal shall have full discretion to retain / or to return all books, documents or papers produced before it and may direct at any time that the books, documents or papers produced before it, or any of them may be returned to the parties producing them, on such terms and conditions that the Arbitral Tribunal may impose.


RULE 124: COPIES OF DOCUMENTS

The Registrar shall upon the written request of a party to the proceedings, furnish to such party at his expense certified facsimile of any document filed in any pending arbitration proceedings.


RULE 125: WITHDRAWAL OF CLAIM

When the party instituting a case desires to withdraw it before the Arbitral Tribunal has been constituted, the Registrar shall return to him any deposits made by him under Rule 24  Fees, Costs and Expenses after deducting such charges as he might have incurred in connection with the cases. The registration fee however shall not be refundable. For the purposes of this clause, the expression “Claim” shall include a counterclaim


RULE 126: ACTION TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH

Neither the Board/Secretariat of VIA Mediation Centre nor the Arbitral Tribunal shall be liable for any action or omission in whatever capacity taken in good faith, while acting in connection or in relation to an arbitration under these rules.


RULE 127: ADDITIONAL COPIES OF AWARD

Additional copies of the award, certified true by the Registrar shall be made available to the parties but to no one else, at the request and on payment as fixed by the Registrar. A copy of the award shall only be retained with VIA Mediation Centre for a period of two years from the making of the award and no copies will be provided beyond this period.


RULE 128: PAYMENT OF STAMP DUTIES

In all cases stamp duties will be paid in accordance with the scale of stamp duties for the time being imposed by law and will be paid in the manner indicated by the Arbitral Tribunal.


RULE 129: PAYMENT TO THIRD PARTIES

1) VIA Mediation Centre reserves the right to Partner with third parties/experts for ADR administration and other services globally.

2) Members/panellists may be instructed by VIA Mediation Centre to make necessary payments to third parties and which the parties will make payment directly to the third party without any reason thereof.


RULE 130: NON REFUND

1) All membership fees received by members (individual/enterprise/panellists) are non refundable.

2) Fees received towards any membership fees either individual or enterprise or foundation or honorary, costs, panellist of arbitrators/mediators/ conciliator in accordance with the Schedules 8,9 & 12. Fees, Costs,  received by VIA Mediation Centre towards providing services, facilities to the parties, arbitrators, mediators, conciliators shall not be refunded.


RULE 131: EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY

1) VIA Mediation Centre will not be be responsible or liable in any manner for any of the proceedings of the arbitral tribunal, Parties claims, defences and or any other acts done by the center and its third parties.
2) To the fullest extent permitted by applicable Rules VIA Mediation Centre, on behalf of its Directors, Members, Employees exclude and disclaim liability for any losses and expenses of whatever nature and howsoever arising including, without limitation, any direct, indirect, general, special, punitive, incidental or consequential damages.
3) The Tribunal, the Chairman, VIA Mediation Centre, and any of its officers, employees or agents shall not be liable to any party for any act or omission in connection with any arbitration conducted under these Rules, unless the act or omission is shown to have been in bad faith.
4) After the award has been made and the possibilities of correction and additional awards referred to in Rule 68 and 69 have lapsed or been exhausted, neither the Tribunal nor the Chairman shall be under any obligation to make any statement to any person about any matter concerning the arbitration, and no party shall seek to make any arbitrator or the Chairman or VIA Mediation Centre a witness in any legal proceedings arising out of the arbitration.