Answer ... The Arbitration Act imposes no obligations of confidentiality insofar as arbitration proceedings are concerned. However, the parties are free to impose such obligations in the arbitration agreement. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2018 has proposed the insertion of a new Section 42A in the act to maintain the confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings (except the award).
Answer ... The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2018 expressly provides one exception to the proposed duty of confidentiality: the details of an award may be disclosed where this is necessary for the purpose of implementation and enforcement of the award. There are multiple other situations in which a party may be required to disclose the award or the details of the proceedings, such as when:
- challenging an award;
- seeking interim relief from the court;
- appealing an interim order of the tribunal, the appointment of arbitrators by the court or the termination of an arbitrator’s mandate; or
- seeking the court’s assistance in taking evidence.
Further, there may be statutory mandates requiring a party to disclose details pertaining to the arbitration, such as under the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Board of India. These are more straightforward circumstances in which it may be argued that disclosure is permitted, given that there are provisions in law entitling a party to exercise such rights and the confidentiality provision is not intended to take away rights expressly granted under law.