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Justice Srikrishna Committee chalks out plan to make India an arbitration hub
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Justice Srikrishna Committee chalks out plan to make India an arbitration hub

Ashutosh Gambhir

Today, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a media briefing at New Delhi’s Shastri Bhavan to expound on the findings of a High Level Committee constituted to review the institutionalization of arbitration mechanism in India.

The ten-member committee headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Justice B N Srikrishna included Justice (Retd) R V Raveendran, Justice S Ravindra Bhat of the Delhi High Court, Attorney General KK Venugopal, ASG P S Narasimha, Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra, Research Director of Vidhi Arghya Sengupta, Deputy Secretary General of FICCI Arun Chawla and Senior Director CII Vikas Mohan. Law Secretary Suresh Chandra was the Member Secretary of the committee.

The High Level Committee submitted its report to the Law Minister on August 3, 2017, which made several recommendations for promoting the standing of the country as a preferred seat of arbitration:

  • Setting up of an autonomous body, styled the Arbitration Promotion Council of India (APCI), which would recognize institutes providing accreditation to arbitrators, hold training workshops for advocates.
  • Creation of a specialist Arbitration Bench to deal with commercial disputes. Judges hearing such matters should be provided with periodic refresher courses in arbitration law and practice.
  • Creation of a specialist Arbitration Bar by encouraging the establishment of fora of young arbitration practitioners.
  • Changes in various provisions of the 2015 Amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act to make arbitration speedier and more efficacious.
  • Declaring International Center for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ICADR) as an institute of National Importance and takeover of the institution by a statute.
  • Creation of the post of an ‘International Law Adviser’ who shall advise the Government and coordinate dispute resolution strategy for the Government in disputes arising out of its international law obligations particularly arising out of bilateral investment treaties (BIT).
  • Permission to foreign lawyers to represent clients in international arbitrations held in India and promoting India as a venue by easing restrictions related to immigration, tax etc.
  • Promotion of ADR mechanisms including provisions of mediation facilities by arbitral institutions and considering a separate legislation governing mediation.

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