Both houses of the Parliament has formally passed the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021. On 10th March 2021, Rajya Sabha passed the bill and it was already passed in the Lok Sabha in February, 2021.

The Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996. The legislation comprises of the provisions of dealing with the domestic and international arbitration. It defines the law to conduct conciliation proceedings. It replaces the Ordinance comprising of the same provisions that was promulgated on 4th November 2020. The legislation deals with the domestic and international arbitration.

Provisions of the Amendment Bill

  1. The Amendment bill comprises of the provision of “Automatic stay on awards”. Earlier, the act of 1996 had allowed the party to file application in order to set aside the order given in the arbitration proceeding.
  2. It specifies that the count can stay the arbitral award, even if there is pendency of setting aside of application, when the court is satisfied that relevant arbitration agreement or contract or making of award was induced by fraud or corruption.
  3. Schedule 7 of the principal act (Act of 1996) specifies some qualifications, experience, and accreditation norms for the arbitrators. The arbitrator must be:
    1. An advocate under the Advocates Act of 1961 along with the ten years of experience
    2. An officer of Indian Legal Service.

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill of 2021 removes the Schedule seven for arbitrators and mention that these qualifications, experience, and norms will only be specified under regulations by the regulators.

Backdrop

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is the main governing law of the arbitration. The act was enacted with the aim of consolidating and amending the law related to the international commercial arbitration, domestic arbitration and enforcement of the foreign award. It also seeks to define the law related to the conciliation.

Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill