Report No. 176
(39) Chapter XI (Sections 43A to 43D and Schedule IV) in Part I: This chapter along with Schedule IV is proposed to be introduced in Part I of the Act, to deal with Fast Track Arbitration. The parties, if they agree unanimously that they opt for this type of arbitration, then, notwithstanding any provision in the contract, the arbitration will be by a single arbitrator, and the procedure to be followed by him will be the procedure indicated in Chapter XI and Schedule IV of the Act.
To the extent the procedure is not covered by the aforesaid provisions, the other provisions of Part I of the Act shall apply. The award is to be passed in six months from the date of constitution of the single member arbitral tribunal. In case it is not so passed, parties by consent can extend the period upto a maximum of three more months.
In case the award is not passed within the period of six months and the further period agreed to by the parties, as stated above, the proceedings will stand suspended until either party applies for extension in the High Court or if the parties do not so apply, until the sole arbitrator applies for extension and thereafter the provisions of sub-sections (4) to (8) of Section 29A shall apply to enable the High Court to monitor the time schedule of the adjournments and other procedure, till the award is passed.
In so far as the filing of the pleadings and producing evidence before the arbitral tribunal, short periods of fifteen days for each step is provided. Other periods mentioned in the Act are reduced, so far as this chapter is concerned. All subsequent applications like an application under sub-section (1) of Section 34 to set aside an award, have to be filed in the same High Court.
Provisions enabling the arbitral tribunal to implement its orders and provisions enabling the High Court to implement the orders of the arbitral tribunal, have been included in the proposed amendment. Provision is also made to enable the arbitral tribunal to pass orders upon the default of the parties to comply with the time schedule or the procedure indicated by the arbitral tribunal.
This Chapter and the Schedule are a modified form of a normal Fast Track Procedure prescribed by other arbitral institutions with this difference, namely, that the upper time limit is not as rigid as in those procedures.
The procedure under this chapter can be called an expedited arbitration procedure with a flexible upper limit controlled by the High Court. By bringing in the High Court even at the first level, the initial approach to the District Court is eliminated. After the High Court, the further appeal, if any, will only be to the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.