The Chief Justice of India- Hon’ble Justice Bobde while speaking at the 3rd International Conference conducted on “Arbitration in the Era of Globalisation” by Indian Council of Arbitration and FIICI at New Delhi, remarked: “Arbitration is not meant to mirror litigation. The time-consuming methods of long oral arguments, long written submissions and a reference to precedence are bound to bring about the same effect in arbitration as it is done in litigation”.
While commenting on the limited success of the institutional arbitration in India, Justice Bobde observed: “A robust arbitration bar is critical to the development of institutional arbitration India as it would ensure availability and accessibility of practitioners with knowledge and experience in the field of arbitration.”
The CJI discussed the history of arbitration and mediation as mechanisms of solving disputes. The CJI observed that despite arbitration having a long history in India, in today’s times, the arbitration regime is considered to be unpredictable and expensive.
He further said that in today’s times, litigation is seen by people as the default mode, with parties turning to ADR only as a secondary option. He further emphasised on the need for change in people’s mindsets in order to make ADR including arbitration as an effective tool to solve disputes.
The CJI, in his speech also dwelt on the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the process of arbitration. He remarked “By augmenting human cognitive abilities, AI-powered services could assist lawyers in drafting, identification of better authorities, reviewing of documents, etc. It is also well placed to assist arbitral tribunals in preparation of award, simulation of judicial review, streamlining case management, etc.”
Lastly, the CJI emphasised on the need for the legislative changes to make mediation agreements enforceable in law. He remarked, “I think the time is ripe to devise a comprehensive legislation which contains compulsory pre-litigation mediation and a remedy for the biggest drawback in a mediation agreement that is to say the unenforceability of an agreement arrived at a mediation would ensure efficiency and also reduce the time pendency for parties as well as the courts”.