Law Ministry Current Affairs

Recommendations: Justice Srikrishna committee on Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism

A High Level Committee set up to review the Institutionalization of Arbitration Mechanism in India has submitted its report to the Union Law Ministry. It was headed by Justice (retired) BN Srikrishna.

The Union Government is committed for speedy resolution of commercial disputes and to make India an international hub of Arbitration. So government has decided to look into the recommendations and amended laws according to need.

Key Recommendations

Arbitration Promotion Council of India (APCI): The committee has recommended for setting up APCI, an autonomous body having representatives from all stakeholders for grading arbitral institutions in India. The APCI may recognize professional institutes providing for accreditation of arbitrators. It may be also empowered to hold training workshops and interact with law firms and law schools to train advocates with interest in arbitration and with a goal to create a specialist arbitration bar comprising of advocates dedicated to the field.

Specialist Arbitration Bench: It also recommended for creation of a specialist Arbitration Bench to deal with such Commercial disputes, in the domain of the Courts.

Changes in Arbitration and Conciliation Act: It has suggested in various changes inprovisions of the 2015 Amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act with a view to make arbitration speedier and more efficacious and incorporate international best practices.

National Litigation Policy (NLP): The Committee also has opinion that the NLP must promote arbitration in Government Contracts.

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Recommendations of Expert Committee for examining Specific Relief Act, 1963

The Expert Committee that was constituted to examine the Specific Relief Act, 1963 has submitted its report to Union Law and Justice Minister D. Sadananda Gowda.

The committee has suggested recommendations for modifications in the decades old law to ensure the ease of doing business in the country.

The recommendations have been made in the context of the various developments which have taken place since enactment of law in 1963. It also has taken into consideration of present changed scenario involving public private partnerships (PPP), contract-based infrastructure developments and other public projects, involving huge investments.

Key Recommendations

  • Making changes in the present provisions of the Act so that specific performance is granted as a general rule.
  • Suggested recommendations over the issue to grant compensation or damages for non-performance remained as an exception.
  • Provide guidelines for reducing the discretion granted to tribunals and courts while granting performance and injunctive reliefs.
  • Introduce provisions for rights of third parties (other than for contracts of Government) and consider addressing unfair contracts, unconscionable contracts, reciprocity in contracts etc.
  • Need to classify diverse public utility contracts as a distinct class by recognising the inherent public interest and the importance to be addressed in the parent Act.
  • Smooth functioning of Public works projects can be effectively managed through a monitoring system and regulatory mechanism.
  • Any public work must progress without interruption. The role of courts in this exercise is to interfere to the minimum extent so that projects of public works will not be stalled or impeded.

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