Courts should show deference towards arbitral awards: CJI
New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) Admitting that there was a general perception about courts in India making undue interference in arbitration process, Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur on Sunday observed that courts should show deference towards arbitral adjudication.
The CJI’s remarks came during his presidential address at the valedictory session of a three-day international conference on National Initiative Towards Strengthening Arbitration and Enforcement in India, organised by NITI Aayog here.
“There has been over the past two days a very dominant opinion here that courts in India interfere unduly with arbitral awards. This criticism is not totally misplaced,” Thakur said.
“We need to sensitise courts about showing deference towards arbitral awards…the judicial sensitisation about the need for maintaining awards rather than setting them aside is a very important aspect which needs to be addressed,” he added.
The CJI emphasised the need for a legal framework which can ensure that the “prolongation (of arbitral cases) in the courts is reduced”.
“The real trouble starts after an award has been pronounced. The award is challenged in the court and once the case enters the legal mill, it languishes endlessly in courts,” Thakur said.
He said that Singapore is a popular hub for arbitration as it “has a legal framework that makes it a preferred country for arbitration”.
Thakur said that having alternative ways and institutions for dispute resolution is also important as the courts and judges in India are already overworked and overburdened, with more and more cases adding to the unending pile-up.
Citing the example of Lord Krishna from epic Mahabharata, who mediated on behalf of the Pandavas with the Kauravas, Thakur said that “mediation, arbitration and conciliation is steeped in our ethos”.
Despite that, he pointed out, India has only one known institution offering arbitration, while China has more than 300 such institutions.
He said India needs to set up credible institutions offering arbitration, train arbitrators drawn not just from judiciary but also varied fields, and also needs to bolster the legal framework for smooth and quick disposal of cases.