A NEW ERA FOR ARBITRATION OF INDIA DISPUTES?

Indian parties are, today, able to discern a clear advantage in choosing to resolve commercial disputes by arbitration rather than subjecting themselves to what is perceived as a long drawn out court process. Particularly in the context of commercial relationships between Indian and international parties, there is a growing trend to use arbitration. This is partly due to international parties not preferring to subject themselves to Indian courts, and partly to their confidence in international arbitration mechanisms elsewhere. Equally, international consciousness that India is an arbitration unfriendly jurisdiction has existed for some time now. These sentiments are founded on the perception of judicial intervention, delays in the Indian judicial system that often cause complaints, and the lack of infrastructure necessary for an arbitration friendly destination.

Consequently, foreign parties to contracts with Indian parties have often been reluctant to seat their arbitrations in India. This has, in recent times, become a non-issue given the availability of jurisdictions such as Singapore which lend themselves well to Indian parties seeking to arbitrate their disputes in a neutral and yet familiar and reputed international arbitration destination.

One of the areas of concern in relation to such arbitrations seated outside India has remained the approach that Indian courts adopt in actions seeking the exercise of their jurisdiction. Most common amongst these requests have been actions seeking interim measures from Indian courts in foreign seated arbitrations, and in some instances, challenges to awards resulting from such foreign seated arbitrations.

Oct-Dec 2013 issue

Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)