Chennai gets new Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre for business discords

Illustration by Binay Sinha
The Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) today inaugurated a new Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre at Chennai.

Recently, a new Bill titled 'Arbitration & Conciliation Amendment Bill, 2018' had proposed to formulate Arbitration Council of India (ACI) to grade arbitration institution and enlist arbitrators in India.

Against the above backdrop, The SICCI Centre for ADR was created and rules tailor-made for businesses were formulated, said R Ganapathi, President, SICCI.

The centre was declared open by Justice T S Sivgnanam of the Madras High Court.

Speaking on the occassion, Ganapathi said India has an estimated 31 million cases pending in various courts. As of December 31, 2015, there were 59,272 cases pending in the Supreme Court, around 3.8 million cases in the High Courts and around 27 million pending before the subordinate judiciary. Twenty six per cent of the cases, numbering more than 8.5 million, are over five years old. It has been estimated that 12 million Indians await trial in criminal cases throughout the country. On an average it takes 20 years for a real estate or land dispute to be resolved.

The dispute resolution process has a huge impact on the Indian economy and global perception on “doing business” in India. This is clearly indicated by World Bank rating on Ease Of Doing Business 2016 which has ranked India 131 out of 189 countries on how easy it is for private companies to follow regulations. The study notes that India takes as much as 1,420 days and 39.6 per cent of the claim value for dispute resolution. This is higher than that of OECD countries as well as that of South Asia’s regional averages. 

Globally, India stands at 178 in the ranking of 189 economies on the ease of enforcing contracts. Russian Federation rank 5, China ranks 7 and Mexico rank 41. 

While welcoming the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015 which has brought about certain noteworthy modifications which would be critical in supporting international arbitration in the country, he said,one of these is the provision permitting arbitral institutions to create their own rules consistent with the Act to ensure that arbitrations are swift and effective.

India has diverse and useful human resources in law as well as other disciplines which can help support and sustain the domestic arbitration ecosystem in India. Legal reforms are certainly a step in the right direction to strengthen the arbitration. Needless to say, that regular amendment in the Arbitration laws to keep abreast with economic changes would be needed.

However, given that India has already done the needful in this regard recently, the present need is reforms in the implementation of the legislative changes by the judiciary along with building of institutional capacity in the country.

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