Govt introduces Bill on stays on arbitral awards tainted by fraud

New Delhi, Feb 4 : The Union government on Thursday introduced the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the Lok Sabha to empower judicial courts to grant unconditional stays on the enforcement of arbitration awards tainted by fraud or corruption.

The Bill aims to ensure that all stake-holders get opportunities to seek unconditional stays on the enforcement of arbitral awards where the arbitration agreement or contract is induced by fraud or corruption.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Bill during Business Hour amid pandemonium created by the opposition on the three farm laws.

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The Law Ministry’s Bill also seeks to remove provisions that prescribe qualifications and accreditation of arbitrators, which had effectively excluded foreign nationals from acting as arbitrators in Indian arbitrations.

Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab opposed the introduction of the Bill on various points and asked “What was the hurry to introduce the Bill?”.

On November 4 last year, President Ram Nath Kovind had promulgated the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which amends Sections 36 (enforcement) and 43-J (norms for accreditation) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (Arbitration Act).

A provision inserted by the Ordinance stipulates that the court, if satisfied that a prima facie case has been made out, shall stay the award unconditionally pending disposal of the challenge under Section 34 (Application for setting aside arbitral award) of the Arbitration Act.

The Ordinance also omits the Eighth Schedule of the Arbitration Act, which deals with qualifications and experience of arbitrators. This provision had faced criticism from some quarters that the conditions prescribed in the law came in way of India getting the benefit of having foreign arbitrators.

A government functionary said that a “wrong impression” had been created on the issue. “The government dropped the 8th Schedule to do away with that impression,” the official told IANS.

Now, the qualifications on the basis of which arbitrators will be accredited will be prescribed by regulations, which will be framed by a proposed Arbitration Council.

The provision will come into effect retrospectively from October 23, 2015 as per the Bill proposed to be moved in the House, said another official.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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