Report No. 176
(21) Section 23 (1): This sub-section is proposed to be amended by deleting the words which permit the parties to lay down the procedure or time schedule for filing the pleadings before the arbitral tribunal. Consequently it will now be for the arbitral tribunal to fix same. This amendment is proposed to expedite arbitration proceedings and to avoid parties or those who represent them agreeing and seeking unnecessary adjournments. It is further proposed to be provided that the procedure and time schedule as fixed by the arbitral tribunal for the purpose of filing pleadings, should be binding on the parties.
This amendment has become necessary in view of the complaints by several arbitrators that in India parties or those who represent them agree for adjournments for no good reason, taking undue advantage of the existing provisions of Section 23 (1). Further, under section 23(1A), the High Court may prescribe rules for expediting the arbitration process under section 82. This amendment has become necessary in view of the peculiar conditions in India.
(22) Section 24(1): This sub-section is proposed to be amended by deleting the words which permit the parties or those who represent them from agreeing to get the proceedings adjourned before the arbitral tribunal during the course of the evidence, without good reason. It is proposed to grant powers to the arbitral tribunal to fix the procedure as well as the time schedule for the evidence.
It will be open to the tribunal to receive affidavit evidence also, subject to any right of the parties to examine the deponent. The procedure and time schedule fixed by the arbitral tribunal shall be binding on the parties or those who represent them. This will also be subject to such rules as may be made by the High Court under section 82. This amendment has become necessary in view of the peculiar conditions in India.
(23) Section 24A: This section is proposed to be introduced to enable the arbitral tribunal, which has passed interim orders under section 17, 23, or 24, to have the said orders obeyed by the parties and in case of failure to obey, the tribunal can pass orders striking out pleadings or imposing costs or omitting material documents or by way of drawing adverse inference. There are similar provisions in the English Act 1996.
(24) Section 24B: This section is proposed to be introduced to enable the parties or the arbitral tribunal, (if need be), to approach the Court for the purpose of implementation of the interim orders passed by the arbitral tribunal under Sections 17, 23 and 24. But before the Court is approached, the arbitral tribunal is to pass a peremptory order on the same lines as the interim order. This provision has become necessary because several arbitrators have complained that they are helpless when parties do not obey their interim orders. There is such a provision in the English Act of 1996.