After the new government came into office, the Cabinet approved the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 (“the NDIAC Bill 2019”) to replace the NDIAC Ordinance. The NDIAC Bill 2019 was passed by the lower house of Parliament (Lok Sabha) on 10 July 2019 and by the upper house of parliament (Rajya Sabha) on 18 July 2019. The President gave his assent on 26 July 2019 and the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Act, 2019 (“the Act”) was thus enacted. The Act is deemed to have come into force on 2 March 2019, the date the NDIAC Ordinance was promulgated.
A. Establishment of the NDIAC
B. Composition of the NDIAC
Section 5 of the Act provides that the NDIAC shall consist of:
- one Chairperson (who has been a judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct and administration of arbitration)
- two eminent persons (having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration, both domestic and international) as full-time or part time members
- one representative of a recognised body of commerce and industry as part-time member
- Secretary to the Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice or his representative not below the rank of Joint Secretary
- Financial Adviser to be nominated by Ministry of Finance, and
- the Chief Executive Officer of the NDIAC as Member ex-officio.
The Chairperson and Members shall hold office for a term of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment (section 6 of the Act).
C. Chief Executive Officer and Secretariat
Section 21 of the Act provides for the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer, who shall be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the NDIAC. The Act (section 23) also provides for the establishment of a Secretariat consisting of a Registrar (who shall supervise the activities of the NDIAC), Counsel (dealing with matters relating to domestic and international arbitration) and other officers and employees.
D. Transfer of undertakings from ICADR to the Central Government and to the NDIAC
The Central Government may also appoint a Custodian of the undertakings who shall manage the undertaking as per the instructions of the Central Government (section 11).
E. Objects and Functions of the NDIAC
The objects of the NDIAC have been defined under section 14 of the Act as follows:
- to bring targeted reforms to develop itself as a flagship institution for conducting international and domestic arbitration;
- to promote research and study, providing teaching and training, organising conferences and seminars on arbitration, conciliation, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms;
- to provide facilities and administrative assistance for conciliation, mediation and arbitral proceedings;
- to maintain panels of accredited arbitrators, conciliators and mediators both at national and international level or specialists such as surveyors and investigators;
- to collaborate with other national and international institutions and organisations for ensuring credibility of the NDIAC as a specialised institution in arbitration and conciliation;
- to set up facilities in India and abroad to promote the activities of the NDIAC;
- to lay down parameters for different modes of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms being adopted by the NDIAC; and
- such other objectives as it may deem fit with the approval of the Central Government.
As per section 15 of the Act, the NDIAC shall strive:
- to facilitate the conduct of international and domestic arbitration and conciliation in the most professional manner;
- to provide cost effective and timely services for the conduct of the arbitration and conciliation at national and international levels;
- to promote studies in the field of alternative dispute resolution and related matters and to promote reforms;
- to undertake teaching and to provide for diffusion of knowledge of law and procedures on alternative dispute resolution and related matters and to award certificates and other academic or professional distinction;
- to impart training in alternative dispute resolution and related matters to those who are handling arbitration, conciliation and mediation;
- to cooperate with other societies, institutions and organisations, national or international for promoting alternative dispute resolution; and
- to perform such other functions as may be entrusted to it by the Central Government for promoting alternative dispute resolution.
F. Chamber of Arbitration and Arbitration Academy
Further, section 29 of the Act provides that the NDIAC may establish an Arbitration Academy to train arbitrators, particularly in the area of international commercial arbitration; to conduct research in the area of alternative dispute resolution and allied areas.