India: A Step Forward: The Arbitration And Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2019

Last Updated: 2 September 2019
Article by Aditya Gupte and Shriya Luke

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 ("Arbitration Act") was recently amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2019 ("Amendment Act") and certain key reforms have been introduced. An overview of the changes introduced by the Amendment Act are discussed below:

Arbitral Institutions: The Amendment Act introduces Arbitral Institutions to be designated by the Supreme Court and the High Courts for appointment of arbitrators, for international and domestic arbitrations respectively. §11 of the Arbitration Act has also been amended to lay down the new procedure for such appointments.

Appointment of Arbitrator(s): A party seeking appointment of an arbitrator(s) will have to apply to the Arbitral Institutions as designated by the Supreme Court (for international arbitrations) and High Courts (for domestic arbitrations). As such, under the new appointment regime, the powers exercised by the Supreme Court and High Court, for the appointment of arbitrators, will now be exercised by the designated Arbitral Institutions. The Amendment Act has omitted §11(6-A) which confined the scope of examination only to the determination of the existence of the arbitration clause. This means that a mechanical approach for appointment of arbitrators cannot be exercised and the existence of prima facie dispute between parties will have to be determined at the time of appointment of arbitrators. It will be interesting to see how the law develops in this respect, particularly if the Arbitral Institutions are allowed to exercise identical judicial functions as exercised by the Courts.

An application for appointment of arbitrator(s) will have to be decided within 30 days of the date of service of notice on the opposite party. Furthermore, the Arbitral Institution will determine the fees of the arbitrator(s) and manner of payment subject to the rates specified in the Fourth Schedule to the Arbitration Act. 

Arbitration Council of India: An Arbitration Council of India ("ACI") with its headquarters at New Delhi will be established. The ACI will comprise of a Chairperson, two nominated/appointed members, three ex-officio members, and one part-time member. ACI's duties inter alia will include promotion of alternative dispute resolution, policy making in that regard and operation and maintenance of uniform professional standards including grading arbitral institutions and accrediting arbitrators. The grading of Arbitral Institutions will be done by the ACI on the basis of infrastructure, quality and calibre of arbitrators, and performance and compliance of time limits for disposal of arbitrations.

Interim Relief from the Arbitrator(s): §17 of the Arbitration Act permitted the parties to approach the arbitrator(s) for interim relief at any time before enforcement of the award. This position has now changed, and parties will be able to seek interim relief from the panel of arbitrator(s) only during the arbitration proceedings.

Time Lines: The timelines pertaining to the arbitration proceedings have been amended and the position is as below:

  1. Pleadings (filing of statement of claim and defence) are required to be completed within 6 months from the date of appointment of the arbitrator(s).
  2. Arbitrator(s) will have to pass an award within 12 months from the date of completion of pleadings in domestic arbitrations.
  3. For international arbitrations, the arbitrator(s) will make an endeavour to complete the proceedings within 12 months from the date of completion of pleadings. The period of 12 months is not mandatory for international arbitrations.
  4. When an application has been made to the Court for extension of the arbitrator(s)'s mandate and the same is pending, the mandate of the arbitrator(s) shall not expire until the disposal of the application.

Challenge to the Award: It was a practice in some High Courts to accept fresh evidence, documentary or oral, and sometimes even frame issues to conduct a mini-trial, while deciding upon a challenge to an arbitral award under §34 of the Arbitration Act. This practice has been eliminated with the amendment to §34, as any challenge will be required to be established on the basis of the record filed before the arbitral tribunal.  

Eighth Schedule: Under the newly inserted Eighth Schedule, the minimum qualifications and experience required to act as arbitrator have been specified. This amendment has been brought about to strengthen the pool of arbitrators, ensure effective dispute resolution and reduce the susceptibility of awards to legal challenges.

Confidentiality and Immunity: Indian law was silent on the issue of confidentiality of arbitration proceedings and the arbitral award. The Amendment Act now provides that an arbitrator, the Arbitral Institutions and the parties to the arbitration agreement are required to maintain confidentiality with respect of the arbitral proceedings. This however does not extend to an award pronounced by an arbitral tribunal. The Amendment Act also provides immunity to arbitrators from any suit or other legal proceedings against the arbitrator for anything, which is done in good faith or intended to be done under the Act or its rules and regulations.

Application of the 2015 amendment: The Arbitration Act was previously amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015 ("2015 Amendment"), pursuant to which, the question of its retrospective application to arbitrations and court proceedings became a question of constant debate.  The Supreme Court in BCCI v Kochi Cricket Pvt Ltd (2018) 6 SCC 287) had laid down that the 2015 Amendment applies prospectively to arbitrations but it was held that §36 of the 2015 Amendment would apply retrospectively to proceedings that were pending as on 23 October 2015, when the 2015 Amendment came in to force. It has now been clarified that the 2015 Amendment shall apply only to arbitration proceedings commenced after 23 October 2015. The 2015 Amendment will also not apply to Court proceedings which pertain to arbitration proceedings commenced before 23 October 2015.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
In association with
Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions