India is not lacking behind in arbitration, we were rather the pioneers – Mr. Rakesh K Sharma, Chairman – Legal Services, SEPC & Director Draft n Craft
“India is not lacking behind in arbitration; we were rather the pioneers. We have had Panchayats for many years” Mr. Rakesh K Sharma, Chairman, Legal Services of Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) – India || Director at Draft n Craft Legal Outsourcing Pvt. Ltd. & Partner at Draft n Craft Law Firm, speaking at the one day Conference on “International Arbitration – An Indian Perspective” at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, India.
New Delhi, India: “International Arbitration – An Indian Perspective,” a one-day conference organized by the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the Government of India, and an apex body to facilitate services exporters from India, on 14th May 2022 at Plenary Hall, Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, India.
Globalization by way of global trade, cross-border transactions, foreign investments has pushed us to frequently adopt Arbitration as an Alternate Dispute Resolution and thereby making way for the formation of the India International Arbitration Centre. While the way to International commercial arbitration in India was paved primarily by the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015, International arbitration has had a long history in India before the 2015 amendment.
To have a single Act that would prove to be efficient for both domestic and international arbitration, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, of 1996 was enforced. This Act was based on the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, 1985.
The focus of this one-day conference was to discuss several interconnected topics of international arbitration relating to India on a worldwide scale. The key insights that will aid and empower the legal service industry in planning, handling, managing, and implementing international arbitration processes and awards. An important issue that has always piqued the interest of policymakers and legal experts.
The event brought together legal industry experts, senior government officials from various ministries, Justices of the Honorable Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi, SEPC’s worldwide ambassadors, prominent Indian lawyers, sponsors, and other stakeholders. Participation was also encouraged for young and energetic law students interested in international law and arbitration to broaden the reach of this conference. The conference started with the welcome remarks by Dr. Abhay Sinha, DG of the Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) followed by the lighting of the lamp by the eminent guests.
Addressing the gathering, Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Supreme Court of India delivered a comprehensive presentation about innovative techniques from around the world that would help in making arbitration time efficient. He shared knowledge on various tools, “Techniques such as hot tubbing, which originated in Australia and helps in streamlining the bounteous data for cases thus making the process of resolving legal procedures at a swifter pace. Such innovative and efficient techniques need to find a place in the legislature of India for us to become the hub of international arbitration.”
Setting the tone and context of the conference, Mr. Rakesh K Sharma, Convener of the Conference, Chairman – Legal Services, SEPC, Director at Draft n Craft Legal Outsourcing Pvt. Ltd. and Partner at Draft n Craft Law Firm, shared, “India is not lacking behind in arbitration; we were rather the pioneers. We have had Panchayats for many years”. The term Palm tree justice comes from Latin, but it also comes from Panchayat where we talk about how a wise man sitting under a palm tree serves as an arbitrator. We have come a long way and the journey has progressed from a man under a palm tree to panchayat and now to institutional arbitration.”
Delivering an insightful talk, Dr. Abhay Sinha, Director General, SEPC said, “The global value of the dispute is 86 billion USD according to a 2018 report and continues to grow at a rate of 10%. The cases will continue to grow as our country opens to more global business. The three main aspects of the global value of disputes that we need to work upon are creating an international framework, spreading awareness globally about our strength and international arbitration, and sustaining effort so the graphs go onward and upwards.” He also explained the critical role that SEPC plays in taking Indian legal services to a global level through different modes of supply.
Dr. R. J. R. Kashibhatla, Deputy Legal Advisor, Ministry of Law and Justice said that the topic of interim remedies under international arbitration is highly challenging and debatable. Across the globe, there is a huge controversial debate over assigning jurisdictions. Harmonious structuring of the provisions is required and is essential. It is held by the International Tribunal in several cases that in case of infringement of fundamental rights of the concerned party, domestic courts can evoke jurisdiction and can intervene and pass orders. It is time to think about issues of evoking domestic jurisdiction and the issue of evoking the foreign tribunal jurisdiction.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Prateek Jalan, High Court of Delhi congratulated SEPC for taking the step to organize a conference that focuses on legal services. The use of legal services and arbitration as tools to enable the business environment to flourish in international trade scenarios is very essential. He added “When we look back at Indian Arbitration Act, the first twenty years were quiet. However, in the last six years, three different amendments have been made. This is a telling fact that it is a work in progress. A conference like this one tells us where we need more work. To be an internationally competitive legal ecosystem we need to the issues of efficiency, integrity, and enforcement issues. These three issues are worth focusing on”.
This one-day conference on international arbitration talked about concerns and solutions of the Indian arbitration laws, gathered vital insights, and provided a platform to promote the Indian government’s notion of “Make in India” and transforming our country into a key player in the global market.
This discussion also pressed the need that we must focus on augmenting a future where arbitration is used more in commercial matters regardless of the status and it also offered a unique opportunity to both industry experts and young, keen minds to understand and develop their skills in international arbitration and to perceive the realistic picture of the practice of international arbitration.
India is swiftly moving towards becoming a global economic powerhouse.
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About Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC)
Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) is an Export Promotion Council set by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India has been instrumental in supporting the efforts of the Indian Service exporting community, and in positioning India as a reliable supplier of high-quality services. SEPC provides a global platform for increasing trade in services, enhancing strategic cooperation, and strengthening multilateral relationships between all stakeholders in the Industry.
- Interface Between Service Sector and Government
- Facilitating Grants and Schemes from the Government
- Promoting Indian Services in Overseas Events
- Facilitating Overseas Services Enquiries
- Channelizing Communication and Publicity