Due In part to the inundation of the judiciary in the past due to the overwhelming number of cases between two corporate entities, over varied reasons, the formation of a dispute resolution mechanism was undertaken by the Government of India. It was named the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA). The MCIA became a favoured body by the various respondents because of its structure and various other rules and regulations that made the process more streamlined.
This favourable endo skeleton provided an impetus to many eminent personalities to jump on the Industrial Arbitration bandwagon. This wide and enthusiastic participation by such eminent personalities made the MCIA gain traction and the rules that were introduced on 15th June, 2016 seems to be making quite an impact not just with practitioners in India but worldwide.
The MCIA Rules promises to hold together better because of the fact that many imminentchanges were proposed and accepted when compared to the earlier framework drawn out by the Nani Palkhiwala Arbitration Centre (NPAC). This earlier attempt at such arbitration lacked the necessary bite since there were many aspects that were undefined, unclear or ambiguous. Some of the main aspects that left much to be desired were such things like provisions that regulated the appointment of arbitrators that helped to reduce challenges on conflict as well as provisions that helped to regulate arbitrations that had multi-contract and multi-party aspects through a joinder or consolidation of claims, as the case maybe. The MCIA Rules explicitly mentions both of them explicitly.
Some of the main highlights of the MCIA Rules are as follows:
Submission of Arbitral Request: Rule 3 and Rule 4 lay down the process for a submission of an arbitral request. What is interesting is that Rule 3.1 specifies additional documents needed for such a request: such as a statement in support of the claim and proof of filing fee being submitted. This is followed by a response by the opposing party either accepting or contesting claims along with a statement in support of the Respondent’s version of the claims and any counterclaims and certain additional procedural details.
Appointment, Challenge and Removal of Arbitrators: These are governed by Rules 6 to 11, which are similar to the SIAC procedure. The rules, however, are likely to take Indian parties time to grasp, as they are a contrast to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, and also distinguish Council arbitrators – as a contrast to standard arbitration clauses, which allow the parties to nominate one arbitrator each to decide the presiding arbitrator.
Time Period: What will perhaps aid Indian arbitration greatly is the reduction in time periods, which will reduce delays. All notices and appointments must be done within 14 days, which quickens the arbitration process and allows parties to reach a faster solution.
Lastly, the comprehensive nature of the rules governing this set of rules is what lends it more credibility than its predecessor. In addition to laying out a clear fee structure, it has included rules of procedures to be followed for witnesses, evidence as well as pleading.
All the above factors make it at par with the due diligence process as well as something on the lines of the Best Business Process that was so needed in the scenario.
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