Arbitration and conciliation have been the preferred system of resolution of disputes in India from times immemorial. Sir Henry Maine observes that, “In those parts of India, in which village community was most perfect, the authority, exercised elsewhere by the headman, was lodged with what was called the village council or the panchayat.”
The prevalent system of arbitration in India made Chief Justice Marten compelled to state in the case of Chanbasappa Gurushantappa vs. Baslinagayya Gokurnaya Hiremath (1927) that “It is indeed a striking feature of ordinary Indian life. And I would go further and say that it prevails in all ranks of life to a much greater extent than is the case in England. To refer matters to a Panch is one of the natural ways of deciding many a dispute in India.”
The Orissa High Court in the case of State of Orissa vs. Gangaram Chhapolia (1982), traced the sequence of the formal codification of law on arbitration starting from Bengal Regulations of 1772 and 1780 to Bengal Regulation IX of 1883 which authorised Settlement Officers to refer disputes to arbitration. The Britishers introduced various acts dealing with the law on Arbitration including the Act IX of 1840, the Specific Relief Act of 1878, the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908, the Indian Arbitration Act of 1940 and The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
The Conduct of Arbitral Proceeding can be expressed in the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996. The relevant sections dealing with the subject matter include Section 18 to Section 27 of the Act.
- Equal treatment of parties
- Determination of rules of procedure
- Place of arbitration
- Commencement of Arbitral Proceedings
- Statement of claim and defence
- Hearing and written proceedings
- Default of a Party
- Expert appointment by arbitral tribunal
- Court assistance in taking evidence
Author Details: Vaibhav Goyal (Student, Panjab University)