In a recent interview that appeared in Economic Times here, Chief Justice of India(CJI)-designate expressed his dissatisfaction in the way arbitration mechanism has evolved  as an alternate to court litigation. He stated that "Unfortunately even after award, the aggrieved person is not accepting it. When it goes to court, we(the courts) treat it on par with other civil matters, so it gets delayed."  He suggested that the High Court or the Supreme Court should segregate the matters coming from arbitration and direct all such cases to a special bench familiar to the subject. He also suggested that, when dealing with arbitration cases coming to the courts, a time frame be drawn. 

 

He was of the opinion that commercial matters too, like " green benches" and special benches for death sentence should go to specialised benches earmarked for them. In his view "at least four commercial cities Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, High Courts must create separate benches for corporate matters."

 

Australia, in particular has separate bench particularly for arbitration matters which is much narrow when compared to specialised commercial benches as suggested by the upcoming CJI. How far his vision meets reality, only time will tell. However, considering the short span of time for which he will serve as the CJI, for around 10 months, it might be difficult for him to bring in a turnaround in this area when there are already many concerns that will need his attention. 

Ashutosh Ray is a lawyer based in New Delhi, currently assisting a former Chief Justice of India in high value international and domestic arbitrations, and opinions. He was part of the expert committee constituted by the Law Commission of India in drafting its report on amendments to the Indian arbitration law. He has published in reputed international journals, newspapers and blogs on arbitration issues. He also runs a popular arbitration blog http://lexarbitri.blogspot.in/.