ENSURING FAIRNESS IN APPOINTMENT OF ARBITRATORS: JOURNEY SO FAR
—Sameer Jain and Anu Sura
The full chapter may be found by clicking on the PDF link to the left.
The Indian arbitration space has shown a great deal of progress in making the arbitration procedure fair as well as efficacious through legislative reforms. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 brought in several reforms to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”), including crucial amendments to Chapter III of Part I of the Act, which deals with “appointment of arbitrators”. Fifth and seventh schedules have been introduced to objectively assess the independence and impartiality of arbitrators. However, a perusal of the judicial decisions post the 2015 Amendment, most notably in Perkins Eastman, Central Organization Railway Electrification, and most recently in Tantia Construction reveal that the there is a fair amount of subjectivity shown by courts in interpreting the rigor of section 12(5) of the Act read with the seventh schedule. Through this article, we seek to trace the legislative journey and shift in judicial trends visà-vis “appointment of arbitrators”, and ascertain whether the legal position as it stands today, is sufficient to ensure fairness in appointment process