New Delhi, 2nd May 2023: India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the past few years. This has spurred a great deal of interest from various global investors. With the open business border today, it is necessary to meet the requirements of the international investors and provide them with a conducive business environment. The government of India has undertaken various initiatives in regards to the jurisdiction and dispute resolution to resolve the conflicts impacting businesses and investors. One of the most widely used tools for dispute resolution is arbitration.
India International Arbitration Centre and Council for Strategic Affairs, Indian Institute of Management Rohtak jointly organised a summit on “Arbitration & dispute resolution creating business climate.” at the Delhi High Court, New Delhi. The chief guest for the event was Hon’ble Mr. Justice Surya Kant, Hon’ble Judge, Supreme Court of India and guest of honour for the ceremony was Hon’ble Mr. Justice Subhash Chandra Sharma, Hon’ble Chief Justice, Delhi High Court.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Indian International Arbitration Centre & Indian Institute of Management Rohtak on this occasion. Event also witnessed panel discussions on the topics, “Discussing best practices in commercial arbitration” and “Efficient and effective dispute resolution to create a positive business environment” with participation from experts and industry leaders like Mr. Mohit Saraf, Managing Partner, Saraf & Partners, Dr. Akhil Prasad, Member- Board of Directors, Boeing India, Mr. Gagan Puri, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal, Shri Sunil Mehta, Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association, Shri Deepak Gupta, Director Projects, GAIL India, among various other panellists.
Hon’ble Justice Hemant Gupta in his address said that the role of arbitration starts at the point of dispute itself. It is important to build self-esteem and bring trustworthy people to the table. He briefed that the Memorandum of Understanding between Indian International Arbitration Centre and Indian Institute of Management Rohtak brings together both the institutes to conduct various seminar and certificate courses of about 52-60 hours and diploma courses which shall train the young minds in the field of arbitration. IIM Rohtak has an excellent programme of BBA+LLB. Thus, it is great initiative on the part of IIM Rohtak that will create a platform to engage in and explore the field of arbitration.”
Prof. Dheeraj Sharma, Director, IIM Rohtak in his inaugural address said, “Arbitration is key to save the humongous money wastage and lack of positive labor force that comes with not going for arbitration.” Three important elements for arbitration, ability to negotiate, ability to forgive and ability to develop trust with trust being the most important element was explained. Cutting edge professionals who are trustworthy give the desired results and bringing them to the table is crucial to the success of arbitration. He further added that ‘it is important that good arbitration and dispute resolution be the fountainhead for creating a conducive business environment as we move towards being a 5-billion-dollar industry. Thus, the transparent mechanism of arbitration and dispute resolution will give more success to the methods.” He said that the MoU between IIM Rohtak and IIAC will help undertake collaborative activities to develop awareness and promote campaigns that will align with the goals of making India an international hub for arbitration. He further added, “Perspectives towards arbitration and dispute resolution must change along with change in our view towards business. goodwill, ability, transparency, and integrityare essential. Change in attitude, behaviour,and thinkingis the most difficult to change and good will is important to be created by arbitration system and must be done a priori. Transparent systems are also integral and it will make the mechanism more successful. Trust has to be built and is crucial.”
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Surya Kant in his valedictory address stated that arbitration incentivizes foreign businesses to enter the Indian market and holds the promise of smooth resolution of disputes through arbitration. “The MoU entered by IIAC and IIM Rohtak will help create a good pathway towards arbitration and spread awareness about arbitration to business particularly in cross border and international disputes. IIM Rohtak has a world class expertise in management practices, consumer decision-making, supply-chain, public policy, technology, and economics and it can assist IIAC in leveraging its expertise. Together, this has a unique potential and opportunity to truly make India the arbitration hub for the world.” He further added that the conditions in India are improving and the scope of arbitration in India is evolving, making India a preferred place for arbitration and dispute resolution. Increasing a sustainable environment for arbitration will invite further businesses, and build a better trustworthy relationship with foreign businesses. As youth come together, this talent is an amalgamation of a multitude of businesses. the environment will pave the way for and calibrate business and arbitrations centres. India will become one of the most important parts of the arbitration position.” He suggested that institutional arbitration must be encouraged in India and it will be more dynamic & specific with able expertise.
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Satish Chandra Sharma congratulated IIM Rohtak and IIAC for the MoU and said that it will help create responsiveness on arbitration. He stated that arbitration creates a beneficial environment for businesses for its disputes and that arbitration will keep growing. He further added that the most important thing right now in arbitration is to have a time frame.
The first panel discussion concentrated on the theme, ‘discussing the best practices in arbitration’ that shed light on the flaws in the course of arbitration that is practiced in India as of today. Dr. Akhil Prasad, Member- Board of Directors, Boeing stressed upon using litigation as a final resort and to maximize the usage of alternate methods such as arbitration. He stated that professionals should be aware of every field of operation of the business, try to give solutions or strategies that are not in the textbooks and focus on networking to avoid litigation. Mr. Rajeev Lochan, CGM Legal, NHAI started from the consumer’s perspective that there needs to be efforts from all stakeholders to provide an easy mechanism of arbitration and dispute resolution processes where conciliation is better than arbitration. He stressed upon avoiding multiplicity of proceedings in certain cases, implementing better schemes such as ‘vivad se vishwastak’, promoting one-time settlement windows and creating standard of procedure by the dissolution boards that were reintroduced by NHAI in 2020. Mr. Hemant Sahai, Founding Partner, HSA Associates reflecting upon the current practices of arbitration stated how for success of arbitration, professionals should be able to preempt the acts of the defense without adding on to the burden, and that problems should be looked to solved through arbitration and conciliation with usage of technology without getting into a situation like that of nuclear war. Mr. Gagan Puri, Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal, explained the improvements in current practices by the need to make only substantial claims, create and provide for reports with substantial value that helps the tribunal is not of disservice to the arbitration process. Mr. Kapil Arora, Partner, Cyril AmarchandMangaldas, elaborated on dependency of quality of arbitrators on understanding the dispute to accurately resolve the problems and resolving disputes through dispute resolution methods. He advised on choosing arbitrators that work well for the party.
The second panel, concentrated on the theme, ‘Efficient and effective dispute resolution to create a positive business environment’, that shed light on creating solutions to the pendency, delays and raising concerns in the current system. Mr. Sunil Mehta, Chief Executive, Indian Banks’ Association stated that arbitration is an excellent mechanism but there is need to develop a system where the solutions provided promotes continuity of business with reduced expenditure and to institutionalise the process of arbitration. Mr. Mohit Saraf, Founder & Managing Partner, Saraf & partner stated that the problem in substantive law and that law incentivizes dishonest lawyers. He suggests consistency in court pronouncements and better drafting and interpretation of laws. Mr. Vijyaendra Pratap Singh, AZB Partners said that the courts should give costs in real terms and why escalate the matters to court if answers can be found through mediation and for better usage of PF commercial courts. Shri Deepak Gupta, Director Projects, GAIL India stated that the litigation should be avoided as it adds to the cost and time and to instead, use conciliation method as a dispute resolute method to resolve issues. Mr. Gurvinder Singh, CFO, Mitsubishi Electric India said that time value of money should be calculated and the need for litigation should be analysed. He stated that there should be an institutionalised arbitration process. Mr. Sameer Jain, Founder & Managing Partner, PSL Advocates and Solicitors stated that ‘it is about time that the foreign law firms entered the Indian market, however, the current ecosystem will be impacted depending on the plans of the foreign firms on how they would set up in India within their limitations.
IIM Rohtak is a well-established and well-respected brand in academia and industry that is setting the benchmark for management education in India and building the leaders of tomorrow by imparting knowledge with a unique cross-functional perspective.