The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in India brought with it a novel amendment, one that restricted the timelines for conduct of arbitration proceedings seated in India to a period of one year. This timeline had also been made applicable to arbitrations governed by arbitration rules of international arbitral institutions. So far, section 29 A, which sets out this time limit, has faced increased backlash across users of arbitrations, including institutions, arbitrators and even practitioners, for being a rushed reform detached from the complex reality of dispute resolution.
This article argues that the imposition of time limits was a much-needed introduction in the Indian arbitration landscape, a landscape that was plagued by delayed proceedings and ‘evening arbitrations’. It seeks to draw a parallel with other jurisdictions where such time limits have been imposed and aims to explore how this provision has positively shaped the way arbitrations are conducted in India – a view that most authors have diverged from.
This article is divided into three parts: the first part outlines the scope, conceptual understanding and legislative intent of this provision. The second part analyses the issues pertaining to the procedural complexities and advantages of the provisions, by drawing an international comparative analysis. Finally, the article discusses how section 29A will act as a step to align India with international best practices and propel it to establish itself as a suitable venue for the conduct of arbitrations.
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