AN EMERGENCY ARBITRATOR IS AN ARBITRATOR….IS THERE A NEED FOR STATUTORY RECOGNITION POST-AMAZON?
—Rajvansh Singh, Saksham Barsaiyan
The full chapter may be found by clicking on the PDF link to the left.
Interim relief is an instrument to protect the interests of parties and preserve the effectiveness of the enforcement of arbitral awards. The rules governing tribunal-ordered interim relief in arbitration have been a topic of discussion for a long time. This is primarily because of the interventionist approach of the Judiciary under Section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 with respect to granting interim relief in arbitrations in India, which eventually defeats the very purpose behind parties entering into arbitration initially. In response to these difficulties, arbitration institutions introduced the mechanism of Emergency Arbitration. This mechanism allows the parties to seek interim relief through an emergency arbitrator before the formation of the arbitral tribunal. However, despite its advantages, challenges concerning the enforcement of emergency arbitrators’ reliefs have prevented it from being utilized by parties effectively. This is so because there is nothing in the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 to enforce such relief. Although the recent Supreme Court decision in Amazon v. Future Retail has recognized Emergency Arbitration, several issues still need to be revisited by the Legislature to strengthen the arbitration landscape in India. In this light, this paper aims to assess the legal standing of emergency arbitrators and the validity of their decisions. In doing so, the paper deals with a doctrinal question which is of immense import: Is an Emergency Arbitrator a full-fledged arbitrator? The paper answers this question in the affirmative by analysing the rules of different arbitral institutions. It further examines the amendments of the 246th Law Commission Report which were not incorporated into the Act. Finally, the paper charts a way to confer statutory recognition upon emergency arbitrations in India to derive its best workability