Arbitration in India

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The rapid increase in trade, commerce and investment along with growing demand of asserting legal claims has led to streamlining of dispute resolution system in developing countries throughout the world. Litigation in many developing countries are confronted with numerous defects which have resulted in the evolution of the concept of alternative dispute resolution mechanism. With the march of time, the alternative forum of dispute resolution has gained importance and prominence in the world by empowering the ordinary litigants with promptness, affordability, impartial decision making, reasonable solutions and efficiency.

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Arbitration is one of such being one such speedy and efficacious system of alternative dispute resolution for doing appropriate justice to the parties who are in need of the same[1]. In developing countries due to high population, the litigative nature of the individual and backwardness of technology and infrastructure has made judiciary collapse under the pressure of large number of cases pending for disposal. The high cost, un-necessary delays, lack of brevity and privacy in the process of litigation have compelled nations and individual’s to search for alternative dispute resolution mechanism[2]. One of the solutions for the increase clogging of the judiciary is to develop alternative dispute resolution mechanism which can be done through the development of Arbitration which is known as private litigation. So Arbitration may be defined “ A reference of a dispute or difference between not less than two parties for determination after hearing both sides in a judicial manner by a persons or person other than court of competent jurisdiction”[3]. The principle of Arbitration includes a fair resolution of disputes by an impartial body without unnecessary delay or expense and without interference by the courts. Therefore, arbitration which was similar to litigation in the private sector seemed conducive to provide a support system to the overburdened and inefficient system of adjudication. India is not new to Arbitration process. Start of Arbitration process is lost in the mist of time with no record indicating how Arbitration process started in India. Nevertheless, the law and practice of private and transactional commercial dispute without the court intervention can found in the haze of Indian history. The Arbitration model in India is mainly based around the role of panchayat at grass root level. The panchayat were known since time immemorial that made introduction to Arbitration and acceptance much easier. The panchayat were group of five elderly people who would guide the villagers to settle their dispute. In some cases, the panch more resembled a judicial court; they could intervene on the complaint of one party and not necessarily on the agreement of both, for example in the case of caste matter. However, in most cases, the arbitral award was made by an agreement between the parties[4].

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