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Post 1991 Developments: Adapting the UNCITRAL Model Law,1985. Pt.2

Post-1991 Developments: Adopting the UNCITRAL Model Law,1985. Pt.2

In terms of formulating a draft of India’s Arbitration and Conciliation Bill prepared by the late Dr. P Chandrasekhara Rao, who was the Secretary of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice several provisions of the Model Law were adopted and adapted some other provisions with amendments. The first part was primarily based on the pattern of the International Commercial Arbitration Act,1986 of British Columbia, which in turn had adopted the language of the UNCITRAL Model Law which had been formatted on the Canadian pattern respectively. Through its judgment in the year 1992, Canada’s supreme court recognized the enforcement of dispute resolution provisions in the Model law as facilitating the eventual pursuit of freer trade on a global scale of sorts.

The new draft bill was comprehensively considered by the Working Group of law ministers from nine different states or bodies, by arbitral institutions, by several representatives of industries as well as by legal experts who aligned the Indian laws with international laws primarily to prevent uncalled for judicial interference in arbitration matters. The initial meeting of the Law Minister’s Working Group was held on the 4th to 6th of October in the year 1994, at Bombay on the Draft Bill also known as the Bombay Draft when Dr. P.C. Rao stated that in order to make arbitration a success story in India, three things must be taken into consideration: firstly a good law that will be responsive to our particular needs; honest and impartial arbitrators without whom any sort of law can be frustrated and the litigants, specifically the commercial community that will be willing to play the game in good faith. At the moment they were engaged in the task of projecting a new, and hopefully good law as they hoped.

Meetings of the working group in India were subsequently held in Chandigarh on the 31st of October 1994, in New Delhi on 5 November 1994 as well as in Calcutta ( as it was called then) on the 15th and 17th of November 1994, wherein a ‘Calcutta Draft’ which mostly followed the Bombay Draft was prepared to incorporate a few more suggestions. Subsequently, in December in 1994 and January 1995, the Working Group prepared a revised and reworked draft which was termed the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill of 1995, wherein inter alia it had been stated that its overall objective of minimizing and diluting the supervisory role of the courts in the arbitral process, and henceforth had provided that every final arbitral award will be enforced in the same manner as if it were a decree of the court. It comprehensively as well as succinctly inappropriate measure encapsulated the following in one law: the International Commercial Arbitration as well as other Domestic Arbitration, foreign arbitral wards, and finally the New York Convention Awards and Conciliation in the penultimate portion.

Source: Harmony Amidst Disharmony: Fali S Nariman

  • Dr. P. C. Rao
  • Bombay Draft Bill
  • Calcutta Draft

BY : Kabir Dev

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