Section 29A centre of attention at Niti Aayog Arbitration conference

Section 29A centre of attention at Niti Aayog Arbitration conference

Bar & Bench

The 3-day conference organised by Niti Aayog on ‘Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement in India’ came to a close today.

The valedictory function saw the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

The Conference, which kicked off on October 21 saw the participation of lawyers, judges, arbitrators, law makers and industry experts engaging in discussions on various aspects on arbitration in India.

The conference witnessed deliberations on the latest amendments to the Arbitration Act, especially Section 29A which prescribes time limit for completion of arbitration.

There was major disagreement with respect to Section 29A among the various panellists who attended the conference.

While former Chief Justice of India, RC Lahoti said that the provision, as it stands currently, will not work in India, former Law Commission member Mool Chand Sharma opined that there should be some time limit but it has to be practical.

Nish Shetty, Head of Litigation practice (Asia Pacific) at Clifford Chance, also suggested that the provision needs to be revisited.

However, Bharti Enterprises Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Indigo Airlines CEO, Aditya Ghosh were some who supported the provision.

In his Presidential address today, Chief Justice Thakur conceded that interference by courts is one of the major reasons for delay in arbitrations. He said that courts needed to be sensitised about the need for deference to arbitral awards.

The Chief Guest for the day, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said that the new amendments to the Arbitration Act has given Indian an opportunity to emerge as a leading arbitration jurisdiction. He said that an arbitration culture needs to be developed and India has to be promoted internationally as an arbitration hub.

The conference was attended by various Supreme Court judges including Justices Anil R Dave, JS Khehar, AK Sikri and DY Chandrachud and Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and KK Venugopal.

The conference also saw the participation of judges from various countries including Chief Justices of Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Singapore.

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