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Report No. 176

2.42 Section 33 of the amending Act:

Time limit for disposal of pending arbitrations, applications and appeals under the 1996 Act:

It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that several arbitrations which have started after 25.1.1996, when the ordinance which preceded the new Act was first passed by Parliament, are also not moving fast as expected. This was because the provisions of sec. 23 of the new Act which referred to the procedure for filing the pleadings and the provisions of sec. 24 which referred to the procedure for leading evidence, allowed the parties also to agree with regard to the time schedule.

The arbitral tribunal, under the new Act, has not been able to assert itself and fix the time schedules both under sections 23 and 24 which could bind the parties or their representatives. The result is that a large number of arbitrations are pending before various arbitral tribunals. Under the 1996 Act, the statutes had not provided any upper time limit for the completion of the arbitral proceedings and for the passing of the award.

We have already mentioned why the time limit which was in existence under the old Act was not included in the 1996 Act, vide the discussion under sec. 29A of this Report. The provision of sec. 29A is now introduced are applicable to future references to arbitration after the commencement of the amending Act.

It will be noticed from sub section (7) and sub section (8) of sec. 30 that amendments to sections 23 and 24 (which have removed the clauses relating to consent of parties for fixing the time schedule for filing pleadings and for leading evidence), and the new provisions to sec. 24A and 24B are proposed to be made applicable to pending arbitrations under the 1996 Act. But this by itself may not be sufficient to speed up the pending arbitrations under the new Act.

The Commission, therefore, felt that the provisions of sec. 29A have also to be applied to pending arbitration proceedings under the new Act of 1996, in case they have been pending for than three years by the date of commencement of this Act. Under the proposed sec. 33 of the Amending Act, the Commission feels that a further period of one year is to be granted for completion of pending arbitrations under the 1996 Act.

This will be fair enough. In case the arbitrations under the new Act which are pending for more than three years as aforesaid and which will not be completed within the additional one year now granted, it would be a fit case where such arbitrations should be monitored and speeded up by the Court in accordance with the provisions of sec. 29A.

As already noticed, when an application for extension is filed in Court under sec. 29A, the arbitration proceedings shall continue and the Court shall not grant any stay of the arbitral proceedings. There are also cases where after commencement of arbitration proceedings under the 1996 Act, the period of three years has not expired by the date of commencement of the proposed amending Act.

In such a case, the Commission is of the opinion that after the expiry of three years from the date of commencement of the arbitration under the 1996 Act, there could be a further period of one year within which the arbitration is to be completed.

Thereafter, the parties have to seek extension of time from the Court which will monitor the proceedings, by fixing time schedules till the award is passed, as provided in sub sections (4) to (8) of section 29A With these objects in view we have proposed in section 33 of the Amending Act, fixing time limits for disposal of pending arbitrations, applications, and appeals under the 1996 Act.



The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2001 Back




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