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Report No. 176

2.15.1 Amendment to section 23:

Statement of claim, defence and rejoinder. It has been pointed out by several retired Judges who are conducting arbitrations that unless the arbitrators have control in speeding up the arbitral process, it is not possible to achieve the object of speedy arbitration and that, more often than not, the parties or those who represent them agree to have a series of adjournments and, once they agree, the arbitrators are not able to go contrary to such an agreement.

This, it is said, is one of the main bottlenecks in the arbitral process today. They have, therefore, requested that in sub-section (1) of section 23, the words "agreed upon by the parties or" may be deleted as also the words "unless the parties have otherwise agreed as to the required elements of their statements". After careful consideration and keeping in mind the ground realities in our country and keeping in mind the expense to the parties on account of every adjournment where they have to pay their lawyers and also the arbitrators, the Commission has agreed to the above suggestion.

It has also added that 'parties shall abide by the time schedule so fixed by the arbitral tribunal, unless the tribunal extends the time'. The Commission thought fit to permit the claimant to file a rejoinder in respect of defence statement under section 23 (IA), the High Court has to prescribe rules in this behalf.

2.15.2 The Commission recommends that in section 23 for sub-section (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:

"(1) Within a period of time to be determined by the arbitral tribunal, the claimant shall state the facts in support of his claim, the points at issue and the relief or remedy sought, the respondent shall state his defence in respect of these particulars and the claimant may file his rejoinder, if any, and the parties shall abide by the time schedule so fixed by the arbitral tribunal, unless the tribunal extends the same.

(1A) The arbitral tribunal shall endeavour to expedite the arbitral process subject to such rules as may be made by the High Court in this behalf."

The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2001 Back

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