Despite jumping several ranks, India's rank as per 2019 is 63rd out of 190 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index indicating that there is still a long way to go.
The Prime Minister at a global conference on 'National initiatives towards Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement in India' in 2016 said that the government aims to create a vibrant arbitration mechanism assuring the investors that the rules of the game shall not be changed arbitrarily and that disputes can be resolved efficiently.
An enabling alternative dispute resolution ecosystem is a national priority as it will not only add to investors' comfort level but also lessen the burden on courts.
For India to emerge as a global hub for arbitration, we need a robust legal framework backed by a vibrant arbitration culture. The arbitration process needs to be strengthened and professional arbitrators are given opportunities to improve their skills. Infrastructural facilities should also be improved.
Reasons for hindrance in the growth of arbitration in India
- Availability of excellent, globally recognized arbitrators
Although arbitration is growing like never before, there are very few institutional arbitrators in India that are globally recognized. With the increase of foreign investment in India, there is a need for quality arbitrators with arbitral knowledge around the world.
- Timely and cost-effective completion of proceedings
Even though arbitration is often selected as an option for quick and inexpensive resolution, the fees of well-known arbitrators might burn your pocket! Besides that, a minimum of 4-5 sittings is required for every case which can go over months.
- Conventional thinking of Indians
Although India is moving towards modernization, most people are still ignorant towards arbitration and trust legislation more than alternate dispute resolution. This kind of orthodox thinking leads to burdening of courts.
Apart from the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 2019, there is a serious need for the introduction of more comprehensive law regarding arbitration process and proceedings. The lawmakers need to extensively study the problems faced by parties while considering arbitration and make dispute resolution easy and seamless.
- The intervention of Courts in Arbitration Proceedings
The intervention of courts in arbitration proceedings should be minimized. Court intervention should be kept in check including the intervention during arbitral proceedings, but the intervention after the proceedings are concluded. Meaning, there must be a limited scope to challenge the arbitral award under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, 1996.
Addressing Issues and Overcoming them
Promoting arbitration and preventing private players to rush to the courts without resorting to arbitration must be the goal. Keeping this in mind, it is very essential to create awareness about arbitration, it’s needed, and its importance.
India will not have a robust domestic arbitration environment unless arbitration is mandated.
- Introduction of Proper Laws
The introduction of proper laws is also necessary. Arbitration laws are required to be amended regularly if our goal is to improve the conditions of the arbitration in India.
Arbitration helps reduce the excess burden that is put upon the courts, ensuring faster decision making and being inexpensive. If the above-mentioned challenges are overcome, and both legislature and judiciary keep a strict check on arbitration laws, the rapid growth of arbitration in India is certain.