Indian judiciary respected worldwide; no easy solution for pendency: Law Minister Kiren Rijiju

Rijiju was addressing an audience at the launch of the 'Arbitrator's Handbook', a LexisNexis publication edited by Shashank Garg.
Kiren Rijiju (Arbitrator's Handbook)
Kiren Rijiju (Arbitrator's Handbook)

The Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Friday that though there is no easy solution to tackle pendency in Indian courts, he in his capacity as Law Minister has a role to play in addressing the issue and ensuring that judiciary is strengthened further.

The Law Minister pointed out that when he took office, there were just above four crore pending cases in India and now, within a year's time, the number was inching towards five crores.

"Common people don't know. They say, as a Law Minister 'you must do something, please reduce the cases'. It is not good that 5 crores cases are pending in various courts in India. Now it is not an easy answer to give. But definitely, I have a role to play and I must ensure that Indian judiciary is strengthened further," he said.

Pertinently, Rijiju said that Indian judiciary is respected worldwide.

"Indian Judiciary is respected worldwide and I was very happy when I was in the House of Commons, we have many people of Indian origin in UK. They all told me, the Indian Supreme Court judgments are referred and quoted in UK. I really take pride in getting such kind of observations from a country which is source of the common law for us," he stated

Rijiju was addressing an audience at the launch of the 'Arbitrator's Handbook', a LexisNexis publication edited by Shashank Garg.

India has the potential to become truly a global hub for arbitration, Rijiju said.

However, he stressed on the importance of Indians trusting our own arbitration centres.

"If we prefer Singapore or London or Hong Kong or Dubai, then the outsiders will not trust us," he stated.

Further, he went on to say that though the judiciary is independent, it requires a support system which the government is duty bound to create. He assured his full commitment to providing such support.

"I take responsibility as a government representative here to ensure that whatever bottlenecks, whatever support, infrastructure creation, or any conducive atmosphere to be created, or all kinds of policy support needed from the government, I fully commit to do that."

Besides Rijiju, four Supreme Court judges were also guests at the event.

Justice UU Lalit discussed recent features and trends in international arbitration along with case laws from various jurisdictions relating to the dichotomy in multi-tier or escalation clauses, access to justice and arbitration, the approach to determining proper law of arbitration agreement and more.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul discussed the relevance of the topic, particularly the extent to which judicial intervention has impeded arbitration.

He highlighted how the arbitration regime saw many twists and turns in the Supreme Court, though the top court eventually reached the conclusion that it is not the job of a judge to sit as an appellate court and scrutinise arbitral awards

Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that arbitration is one of the oldest, if not the first method known to the society for adjudication and resolution of disputes.

Though he conceded that there is some reluctance to take recourse to arbitration as a default dispute resolution mechanism, but those aware of its advantages are reaping the benefits of it.

Justice BR Gavai in his speech shared his views on the Indian arbitration landscape. He underscored that despite the importance of India being a hub for international arbitration, it is necessary to be mindful of the fact that the chief majority of arbitration in any jurisdiction would always be domestic arbitration.

Therefore, we have to ensure that even at the domestic level, issues and challenges arising with respect to the arbitration ecosystem is addressed at war footing by both the legislature and the judiciary, he said.

"And in order to ensure that Indian domestic arbitration also flourishes, of course there is a clear need of quality arbitrators who are well-versed with both domestic and international procedures," he added.

[Watch video of the event below]

[Read our live coverage of the book launch here]

The event was live transcribed by TERES. TERES provides technology solutions to arbitrators, lawyers, institutions and courts to help make dispute resolution paperless, more efficient and less expensive. They have experience handling over 3000 hours of domestic and international arbitrations across India, UK, France, HK, Singapore, Mauritius, UAE and Qatar.

[Read Transcript Here]

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