Emergency Arbitration must be Promoted & Regulated in India: Justice Hima Kohli

Emergency Arbitration has enormous potential in the country and the legislature should take steps to promote and regulate it, Supreme Court judge Justice Hima Kohli has said.

The top court judge, who was addressing the Delhi Arbitration Weekend on Saturday, said Emergency Arbitration (EA) provides a quick and efficient solution to pressing disputes and can help curtail delays and expenses.

But the issues concerning the clarity and consistency in the applicable rules and procedures and the lack of awareness among the stakeholders remain to be addressed, she added.

“EA has an enormous potential in India To address these challenges, it is essential for the government to take steps to legislate, promote and regulate EA in India. This could include amendment to the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, introduction of standard procedures, establishment of a dedicated EA Tribunal, promotion of awareness and education about the benefits of EA,” Justice Kohli said.

Under emergency arbitration, a temporary arbitrator is appointed to expeditiously hear and resolve such urgent disputes between the parties which cannot wait for the conclusion of normal arbitration proceedings.

Delhi Arbitration Weekend, organised by Delhi International Arbitration Centre, is underway at the Delhi High Court since Thursday and will conclude on Sunday.

Speaking during one of its sessions, Justice Kohli said emergency arbitration would support the growth of institutional arbitration in India, which would help in reducing the “docket explosion” faced by already overburdened Indian courts.

Although emergency arbitration is not widely used in India, it is expected that it will gain more acceptance in the future, she said.

“By recognising the enforceability of emergency awards, party autonomy is respected. At the same time, the court system can be decongested to some extent. Viewed from this angle, the powers exercised by an Emergency Arbitrator are not in conflict with the powers of the court,” Justice Kohli said.

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