Cabinet approves changes to Arbitration & Conciliation Bill

The Union Cabinet has approved a string of amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill 2015 that aims to ensure faster settlement of commercial disputes to promote ease of doing business in India, according to a statement.

The amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill 2015 are in line with the government' emphasis that the duration of litigation should not be so long as to deter foreign firms from doing business in India.

The bill seeks disputes to be settled within 12 months, a period extendible by another six months.

Beyond this time-line, any extension could be granted only by a court "on sufficient cause". In such a scenario, there is a provision to reduce the fees of arbitrators if the court finds that the delay has caused due to arbitrators.

However, there is also an incentive provision which allows to pay an extra fee to arbitrator if the matter is disposed of within six months and the parties agree to pay more, the statement said.

A new provision also says that application to challenge the award is to be disposed of by the court within one year

Further, it added that any person in the position of conflict of interest would be ineligible to be appointed as an arbitrator.

Moreover, there is another significant amendment that says that a challenge to the arbitration award before the court would not halt its implementation unless the court put its execution on hold.

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