The New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Act, 2022, (hereinafter referred to as the “Amendment Act”) was enacted after being notified by the Ministry of Law and Justice vide a notice released on 27.01.2023. During the last Winter Session in December 2022, the Parliament approved the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (Amendment) Bill (hereinafter referred to as “the Bill”).
The Bill was approved by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on 08.08.2022, and 14.12.2022, respectively. The Amendment Act essentially renames the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre to the India International Arbitration Centre (hereinafter referred to as “Arbitration Centre”).
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES INTRODUCED
The Amendment Act amended the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019 (hereinafter referred to as the “Principal Act”). The objective behind renaming the Arbitration Centre is that the Centre is of national importance but it gives an impression of being city centric because of the connotation of ‘New Delhi’ to it. Thus, to promote India as a hub of Institutional Arbitration and International Commercial Arbitration, the name has been altered.
Subsequently, the Amendment Act amends Section 15(a) of the Principal Act and facilitates conducting Arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution mechanism, both international and domestic, in the manner as may be specified by the regulations from time to time.
The Amendment Act requires the Arbitration Centre to strive to facilitate the conduct of International and Domestic Arbitration and Conciliation. The Amendment Act further expands to include the conduct of other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Section 34 of the Principal Act allows the Central Government to provide for removing any difficulties in implementing the Act up to two years from the date of commencement of the Act. However, the Amendment Act now extends this time period of implementation to five years.
The Arbitration Centre will have a pre-determined Arbitration procedure, which will be laid down by the Arbitration Centre itself, and there shall be no Government intervention in the Arbitration Centre. The Arbitration Centre will have an efficient panel of Arbitrators, professional support, and world-class well-built infrastructure, which in turn will increase the ease of doing business in India.
India being the fifth largest economy in the world is yet to unveil its potential to the fullest when it comes to dispute resolution mechanisms. The smaller economies have a predominance in alternate dispute resolutions like Arbitration. The Amendment Act aims at making India a hub for Institutional and International Commercial Arbitration, and aims to bring about a dynamic change in the Arbitration ecosystem of India. The renaming of the Arbitration Centre is a positive step taken by the Government to make the Arbitration Centre an institution of national importance.
Moreover, India is gearing up for removing the dependency on the Constitutional Courts for appointment of the Arbitrator(s) as the case, rather it shall be done through such Institutions which are at par Arbitration hubs like Singapore.
The Government also aims to make the Arbitration Centre efficient, with lower costs and promoting the ease of doing business. The Government is yet to notify the regulations which would state the procedural standards to be maintained and other such necessary details.
The Amendment Act is a step towards increasing the effectiveness of the Arbitration system and an efficient implementation would yield better results and the objective shall be swiftly achieved.
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