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Lok Sabha Passes Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 - (12 Feb 2021)


Lok Sabha Passes Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 repealing the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on 4th November, 2020. Through the amendment, changes have been made to Section 36 of Arbitration Act relating to enforcement of arbitral awards. As per the amendment, if the Court is satisfied that, a prima facie case is made out that, the arbitration agreement or contract which is the basis of the award was induced or effected by fraud or corruption, it will stay the award unconditionally.

The amendment shall apply to all Court cases arising out of or in relation to arbitral proceedings, irrespective of whether the arbitral or court proceedings were commenced prior to or after the commencement of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015. Earlier, the Amendment Act, 2015 mandated to file a separate application for stay on enforcement of award and stay is granted by the Courts only when the applicant fulfils the parameters specified under Section 36 of Arbitration Act. As a consequence, if stay on enforcement is not granted and the application under Section 34 of Arbitration Act is pending, the award is enforceable.

The Arbitration Act regulates the domestic arbitration in India. Further, the Eighth Schedule to the principal Act which was introduced vide Amendment Act, 2019, is omitted. Now, the qualifications, experience and norms for accreditation of arbitrators shall be specified by the Regulations. Earlier, the schedule provided the criteria in terms of qualifications and experience of a person for appointment as an arbitrator. The amendment would be beneficial to parties to the arbitration and provides an opportunity to seek an unconditional stay of the award, where there are allegations of fraud or corruption.


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