What are the key provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996?

Answer By law4u team

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, is a key legislation in India that governs arbitration proceedings, the appointment of arbitrators, enforcement of arbitral awards, and related matters. Here are the key provisions of the Act: Arbitration Agreement (Section 7): Defines an arbitration agreement as an agreement between parties to submit disputes to arbitration, whether contractual or not, and specifies the form and requirements for such agreements. Appointment of Arbitrators (Section 11): Provides guidelines for the appointment of arbitrators, including procedures for appointing sole arbitrators, appointment by parties, and appointment by the court or designated authority in case of disputes or challenges. Conduct of Arbitral Proceedings (Section 18-27): Outlines procedures for conducting arbitral proceedings, including statements of claim and defense, hearing procedures, evidence submission, witness testimony, and issuance of interim measures or orders by the arbitral tribunal. Arbitral Awards (Section 31-34): Specifies the requirements and procedures for making arbitral awards, including the form and contents of awards, time limits for making awards, correction of awards, and termination of proceedings upon issuance of final awards. Challenge and Enforcement of Awards (Section 34-36): Sets forth grounds for challenging arbitral awards, such as procedural irregularities, lack of jurisdiction, and contravention of public policy. Also provides procedures for enforcement of domestic and foreign arbitral awards. Court Assistance (Section 9, 17, 27): Empowers courts to intervene in arbitration proceedings by granting interim measures, appointing arbitrators, assisting in evidence collection, and providing assistance in matters related to arbitration. Settlement of Disputes (Section 30): Encourages parties to settle disputes amicably during arbitral proceedings and allows the arbitral tribunal to assist parties in reaching settlements. Costs and Fees (Section 31A, 31B): Provides for allocation of costs and fees related to arbitration proceedings, including the power of the tribunal to determine costs and impose penalties for frivolous claims or defenses. Confidentiality (Section 75): Protects the confidentiality of arbitral proceedings and awards, barring disclosure of confidential information except in limited circumstances. Domestic and International Arbitration (Chapter II, III): Distinguishes between domestic arbitration (arbitration conducted within India) and international arbitration (arbitration involving parties from different countries or having foreign elements), with specific provisions applicable to each. These provisions, along with other sections and schedules of the Act, provide a comprehensive legal framework for the conduct, enforcement, and resolution of disputes through arbitration in India. The Act aims to promote alternative dispute resolution, ensure fairness, efficiency, and enforceability of arbitral awards, and facilitate the resolution of commercial and civil disputes outside of traditional court litigation.

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