Alternative Dispute Settlement Mechanisms in India

Former Supreme Court judges Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice S.S. Nijjar, underlined the need for a sincere and focused approach to arbitration and advised the legal fraternity to look into the reasons as to why Indian arbitration has been unable to make an impression on the International business community in relation to effective arbitration.

In his keynote address Justice Nijjar at the 4th CII National Conference on Effectiveness of Alternate Dispute Resolution for Promotion of Business mentioned that we should move forward in the field of arbitration with commitment, sincerity and zeal to ensure India becomes a global centre for arbitration. He feels that unless steps are taken in this regard arbitration in India would only be dealt by foreign experts and Indians would be left with only a subsidiary role. Justice Nijjar went on to mention from experience of a recent arbitration matter that arbitration has been prevented from being cost effective because people are concerned with everything else apart from arbitration.

Highlighting the urgency of building international confidence in India’s ability to offer effective and timely resolution of disputes relating to business and trade Justice Sikri, in his address as a chief guest, favoured mediation and said that it should be allowed to grow in our country. According to him ‘Mediation not only restores broken relationships but even strengthens them’.

Lalit Bhasin, Senior lawyer and chairman, CII Task Force on Dispute Resolution felt that factors like red tape and delays in settlement of disputes were reasons due to which foreign investors thought twice before coming to India and both litigation and arbitration had failed to provide an effective resolution of disputes. Emphasising on the institutional arbitration frameworks in Singapore, London, LCIA and ICC, Bhasin mentioned that India should develop its own infrastructure for institutional arbitration to ensure Indian work was not taken away from them.