Law & Judiciary

    'Govt panel on mediation needs more time', Centre requests SC to defer Constitution Bench hearing

    The Hawk
    September11/ 2023
    Last Updated:

    New Delhi: Attorney General R. Venkataramani on Monday requested Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud to defer proceedings coming up before the Constitution Bench on September 13 saying that the expert committee formed by the Centre to examine the working of arbitration law in the country and recommend reforms in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 would need more time to prepare its report.

    “It may take little time for the committee,” said Attorney General (AG) Venkataramani, the topmost law officer of the Centre, while mentioning the matter before the CJI-led bench.

    At this, the bench said, “That day (September 13), we will list it and those two arbitration matters may not go on but we will at least know from you about the progress so far.”

    Earlier on July 12, the Constitution Bench deferred hearing for a period of two months after the AG had told the five-judge bench that the expert committee has commenced the consultation process and will “not take more than two months” to submit its report to the government.

    “The Attorney General states issues arising before the constitution bench would also come within the broad framework of the committee. After the report of the committee, the government will take a call if modification of legislation is warranted. Presently we direct that two references before the Constitution bench be deferred for two months. List on September 13, 2023," had ordered the Constitution Bench on the last occasion.

    The CJI-led Constitution Bench, also comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy, P.S. Narasimha, Pankaj Mithal, and Justice Manoj Misra, is considering the question if a person who is ineligible to be an arbitrator in a dispute can nominate another person to be an arbitrator.

    In 2022, the issue was referred to a larger bench in view of the conflicting decisions rendered by two three-judge benches.

    On June 14 this year, the Ministry of Law and Justice set up a 16-member expert committee headed by former Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, T.K. Vishwanathan, inter-alia, to suggest novel solutions to limit the requirements of parties to seek judicial intervention by approaching the court and to address the issue of expeditious attribution of finality to the award.