The Cabinet has approved two Bills to be introduced in Parliament aimed at speeding up and strengthening the dispute resolution process in the country. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2018 “is a part of the efforts of the Government to encourage institutional arbitration for settlement of disputes and make India a centre of robust Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism”, the government said in a release. The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill 2018 seeks to bring down the specified value of a commercial dispute to ₹3 lakh from the present ₹1 crore. In other words, commercial disputes of a “reasonable value” can be decided by commercial courts. “This would bring down the time taken (presently 1,445 days) in resolution of commercial disputes of lesser value and thus further improve India's ranking in the Ease of Doing Business,” the government said. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2018 will establish an independent body—the Arbitration Council of India (ACI)—that will lay down standards, make arbitration process more party friendly, cost effective, and ensure timely disposal of arbitration cases. “The Chairperson of ACI shall be a person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice or Judge of any High Court or any eminent person,” the release said. “Further, the other members would include an eminent academician, etc, besides other Government nominees.” The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill 2018 provides for the establishment of commercial courts at the district judge level for the territories over which the respective High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction—Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and the state of Himachal Pradesh. “The State Governments in such territories may by notification specify such pecuniary value of commercial disputes to be adjudicated at the district level, which shall not be less than three lakhs rupees and not more than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district court,” the government said. - courtesy The Hindu.
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