To develop India as a global hub for international arbitration, it needs to adopt global best practices, NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy said, terming heavy reliance on retired judges as arbitrators as “problematic”.
There is a call to demonstrate that Indian arbitral institutions are homogenised with the world and can deliver an effective arbitration work at lower cost, Debroy along with Suparna Jain wrote in a research paper titled ‘Strengthening Arbitration and its Enforcement in India – Resolve in India.’
Major Indian cities have the necessary infrastructures like communication with other facilities to help international arbitrators, the paper noted.
According to the paper, heavy reliance on retired judges as arbitrators has also been identified as being problematic.
“It is believed that with retired judicial members as arbitrators, the case acquires a rather languid pace, with traditional hierarchy taking precedence in the matter. Coupled with this, is the exorbitant fee charge for arbitration by retired judges which is seen to have a discouraging impact on the parties,” the paper pointed out.
Observing that presently the law is silent on this issue as to who can be appointed arbitrator, generally they are from judicial background, the paper said, “there is a need to expand the base of arbitration not only from judiciary but members of Bar should also get involved in this field.”
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Acknowledging that setting up of arbitration institutions with international standard with hearing centres on widened jurisdiction of India is one of the foremost challenges, the paper said the decision to be made is whether arbitration across the nation has to be governed through a single centre or should there be multiple centres across cities.
India has an estimated 31 million cases pending in various courts. As of December 31, 2015, there were 59,272 cases pending in the Supreme Court, around 3.8 million cases pending in the High Courts and around 27 million pending before the subordinate judiciary.
Around 26 per cent of cases, more than 8.5 million, are more than 5 years old. It has been estimated that 12 million Indians await trial in criminal cases throughout the country.
On an average, it takes twenty years for a real estate or land dispute to be resolved.