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Delhi HC arbitration centre kick-started; 3 cases already referred


The Delhi High Court has already referred three cases to its brand-new arbitration centre for adjudication, which was started up only two weeks ago.

Kachwaha & Partners arbitration partner and general counsel of the core committee of the Delhi High Court arbitration center, Dharmendra Rautray, said: "The High Court has referred three cases to the center for arbitration but we're yet to receive request for arbitration from the parties.

"Further details relating to the case will only be known after the parties file request for arbitration with us."

The arbitration center was only inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India on 25 November 2009 to provide institutional arbitration under the framework and procedures laid down by a core committee constituted in this regard by the Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah.

Rautray said that in the first case, ten days notice has been given to the parties to make the representations and the court has given 15 days to file a claim statement in the other two cases.

In one case, the matter will be filed before the center on 14 December 2009.

Rautray explained: "The current references have not been made under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and all three cases referred had an explicit arbitration clause."

Legislative developments in the history of the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in India provided for insertion of Section 89 in the CPC through an amendment in 1999, which paved the way for the settlement of disputes outside the courts.

"Whenever an appointment of an arbitrator request is filed with the HC without naming individual or institutional arbitrator, the court will refer it to us [the arbitration center]," he added.

The arbitration center consists of a governing body, secretariat, core committee and panel of arbitrators. The core committee has one chief counsel, two general counsels and two other counsels.

Rautray said: "I am working as a pro bono general counsel, senior advocate A K Ganguly is the chief counsel of the committee, who also works pro bono. There is one more general counsel in the court committee who gets paid and her appointment was made on the recommendation of Delhi High Court judges. Our governing body has nine members."

In this institutional arbitration, the governing legislation remains the Arbitration and Conciliation Act while the procedural aspects are defined under the rules prescribed by the Delhi High Court for the arbitration centre.

Rautray explained that the arbitration centre would aim to resolve disputes quickly by hitting parties that unreasonably delay proceedings with costs. "Time tables are set for both arbitrators and the parties to comply with the recording of oral evidence, expert evidence and submissions. So everything is within a time period and in case it is not followed, the parties are put at cost."

Last month the London Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) set up an Indian chapter and earlier this year the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) launched in Delhi.

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