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Arbitral Award: The Final Award

An arbitration award is an award granted by the arbitrator in their decision. This award can be money one party has to pay to the other party. It can also be a non-financial award, such as stopping a certain business practice or adding an employment incentive. In simpler words, arbitral awards refer to the decision of an arbitral tribunal, whether in domestic or international arbitration.

Arbitration is an alternate dispute resolution. It is especially relevant and feasible in case of commercial matters. The current statute that governs the arbitration regime in India is the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, of 1996, which was amended in the year 2015.

Arbitration is a favourable option for parties who are looking to settle the matter mutually. It is a framework apart from the ordinary judicial framework of courts. Arbitration is a way to make dispute resolution non-aggressive and amicable. The parties can make a mutual choice of the place of arbitration and the arbitrators.

Arbitration can be court-ordered if the judge believes that the matter can be resolved without the court's intervention. But, in many cases, arbitration occurs because at the time of signing of contracts there was an arbitration clause inserted by mutual agreement.

Arbitration is the process by which a dispute or difference between two or more parties as to their mutual legal rights and liabilities is referred to and determined judicially and with binding effect by the application of the law by one or more persons constituting the "arbitral tribunal" instead of by a court of law.

The arbitrator conducts hearings with the parties and passes his decision in the form of an award. It is analogous to a judgment given by a court and can be enforced in the same way as a court-ordered judgment. It is final and binding upon the parties unless challenged by Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 ("Act").

Drafting an award is a complex matter as the arbitrator must condense the entire proceedings into a coherent and reasoned document. This chapter shall examine the requirements of a valid arbitral award as per the Act.

Arbitral Award

The Act does not give a concrete definition of the term 'arbitral award'. Section 2(1)(c) merely states that for Part I of the Act, the term includes an interim award within its meaning.

Interim award: It is an award that affects the rights of the parties but is not a final award. An arbitral tribunal may at any time during the arbitral proceedings make an interim arbitral award on any matter concerning which it may make a final arbitral award.

The arbitral award or arbitration award refers to an arbitration hearing decision made by an arbitration tribunal. An arbitral award is equal to a court judgment. An arbitral award may be non-monetary in nature where the claims of the entire claimant fail and there is no need for any party to pay any money.

An arbitral award is similar to a judgment given by a court of law. In other words, an arbitral award is given by the arbitral tribunal as a decision on various issues in a smaller which the parties had placed before the arbitral tribunal. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, does not clearly define the idea of an arbitral award. However, the concept of an award could also be understood as a final determination of a particular issue or claim that had been submitted for arbitration. It represents a resolution of the dispute between the parties.

The arbitral award shall be defined as any arbitral tribunal's judgment on the nature of the dispute referred to it and shall include a temporary, interlocutory or partial arbitral award. The interim award may be applied in the same way as a final award of arbitration. Unless otherwise decided by the parties, a party may ask the arbitral tribunal to make an additional arbitral award in respect of the claims raised in the arbitral proceedings but omitted from the arbitral award within 30 days of receipt of the arbitral award.

An arbitration award is an award granted by the arbitrator in their decision. This award can be money one party has to pay to the other party. It can also be a non-financial award, such as stopping a certain business practice or adding an employment incentive. In simpler words, arbitral awards refer to the decision of an arbitral tribunal, whether in domestic or international arbitration.

Essentials Of An Arbitral Award

For an arbitral award to be valid it must contain the following essential elements:
  • The award shall be in writing.
  • The award shall be signed by all the members of the arbitral tribunal.
  • The award shall state the reasoning on which it is based.
  • Date and place of arbitration should be mentioned on the award.
  • The award must be complete and must not leave anything behind.
  • The award must be consistent and should not be contradictory
  • The award must be certain and should not be any uncertainty.
  • The award should not be impossible to perform.

General Principles

  • Who can challenge:
    Only a party to the arbitration agreement can challenge an arbitral award. A person who is not a party to the arbitration cannot raise a challenge against an arbitral award.
  • Authority:
    An award can only be challenged before a court, which would include a District Court and a High Court exercising original jurisdiction (for awards from domestic arbitration) and High Court (for awards from international commercial arbitration).
  • Timeline:
    Timeline refers to by when a challenge against an arbitral award can be raised. The law notes an initial period of three months from when the award is received by the party with a maximum extension of thirty more days by the court.

Types Of Arbitral Award

  1. Final Award:
    An award that is made by the requirements of the law (including signature, reason and delivery), and finally adjudicates on the issues submitted to arbitration, would be a final award.
  2. Domestic award:
    An arbitral award made within the territory of the state.
  3. Foreign award:
    An arbitral award made or deemed to be made in the territory of another state.
  4. Settlement Award:
    During the arbitration process, the parties may choose to settle the matter instead of having it adjudicated by the arbitrator. In such a situation, the arbitrator could assist the parties in arriving at a settlement. If a settlement is arrived at, and the arbitrator has no objection to it, then terms of the settlement could be made part of an award. This is referred to as a settlement award. (Section 30)
  5. Additional Award:
    When a final award has been rendered, but it is later found out that certain claims that had been submitted to the arbitral tribunal were not resolved/adjudicated, the parties can request the arbitral tribunal to make an additional award covering the issues that had been left out. Such a request must be made within 30 days from the date of receipt of the final award.

Requirements Of An Arbitral Award

The requirements are:
  1. Must be a decision by the majority:
    All decisions, including an award, must be made through the majority. An award must also be complete concerning all issues that are submitted to the arbitral tribunal for adjudication.
  2. Must be made in writing, signed and dated:
    Section 31(1)(a) requires an award to be in writing and have the signature of the members of the arbitral tribunal. It is not an award unless these two conditions are fulfilled. It is quite possible that a particular arbitrator may not agree with the contents of the award. Therefore, the law only requires a majority of the arbitrators to sign. The law, however, requires the award to state the reason for any omitted signature. The date of the award is of equal importance since it helps in determining various timelines, for instance, within how much time can an award be challenged before the court, etc.
  3. Must be reasoned:
    A mandatory requirement for an award is that it should be reasoned. Failure to state reasons would make the award invalid. The arbitral tribunal is required to reach a decision and it also has to show why it reached a particular decision. The presence of reason would show that the arbitrators had applied their minds to the matter, taken into consideration all materials put before them and only then arrived at a decision. In other words, the decision would not be arbitrary. The only exception is when the parties have agreed that no reasons need to be given for the award.
  4. Should be capable of being performed:
    The award should be capable of being performed. The award must be realistic in what it suggests, and should not ask parties to do something that is not possible or illegal. An unenforceable award would be set aside.
  5. Must not be illegal (against public policy):
    Under the law, a particular award that violates public policy would be set aside. The public policy represents some of the most cherished and important principles and policies of the State. An award would be in violation

Provisions Of Arbitration And Conciliation Act, 1996 Dealing With Arbitral Award

Section 28 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- Justice in Good faith

An Arbitrator should decide the dispute in justice and good faith. However, there's a condition precedent, given that each party expressly authorize an arbitrator to adjudicate then solely he will decide the dispute between them. When the place of arbitration is in India and the arbitration is domestic, the Arbitral tribunal will decide the dispute by the law which is in force in India.

In International arbitration- the parties will decide which law is applicable. If the parties fail to decide the Arbitral tribunal /arbitrator will decide.

Domestic arbitrations should follow Indian arbitration law. However, for international arbitration agreements primarily based in India, the arbitral tribunal should follow the laws the parties have agreed to apply in their agreement to settle disputes. The selected law as agreed within the agreement should be construed unless expressly agreed otherwise.

It should also be kept in mind that while applying the law of a unique legal system, the substantive laws of India shouldn't conflict with them. Within the absence of any such agreement or any indication of what would be the applicable laws once a dispute arises, the arbitral tribunal shall apply laws that are applicable and relevant to the dispute.

Furthermore, the arbitral tribunal should apply provisions solely consistent with the terms of the contract between parties. However, the tribunal should additionally take into account the usage and also current trade practices that are relevant to the contract.

Section 29 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- Decision making by a panel of arbitrators

The decision of the Arbitral Tribunal is going to be in the majority. The arbitral award is the conclusive stage of the arbitral proceedings. The choice made by the majority of the members of the tribunal is going to be declared in the form of an award.

When there is more than one arbitrator, the decision must be made by a majority of all the arbitrators. However, the parties can agree in the arbitration agreement that the decision of any particular arbitrator will prevail and not the decision of the majority.

The voting rules contained in Subsection (a) result from the fact that international arbitral tribunals typically consist of one or three arbitrators. In a three-member tribunal, the rule helps to avoid a deadlock in the voting of the arbitrators on the legal issues relevant to the decision of the dispute. A deadlock may still happen in scenarios where there are three different views on a legal issue.

Because questions of procedure may be decided by the chairman alone if so authorized by his co-arbitrators (which typically happens in international arbitration) under Subsection (b, procedural orders, in contrast to arbitral awards, may be signed by the chairman alone.

Section 30 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996: Settlement
Section 30 permits the encouragement of settlement amongst the parties by the arbitral tribunal. If the parties with success conform to a settlement then the same can be incorporated within the form of an award. Such settlements are recorded because of the Arbitral award on agreed terms. Such amicable arbitral awards should be created according to Section 31. It has the same effect and status as that of an arbitral award passed by an independent tribunal to substance a dispute.

Arbitral tribunals can encourage the parties to settle their dispute by way of mediation, conciliation, negotiation or any other procedure while the arbitration proceedings are going on. If the parties settle their dispute during the arbitral proceedings, the arbitral tribunal will terminate the proceedings and it will record the settlement in the form of an "Arbitral Award on agreed terms". But the Arbitral tribunal need not record the settlement if it has any objection to it.

If during the arbitral proceedings, the parties settle the dispute, the arbitral tribunal shall terminate the proceedings and, if requested by the parties and not objected to by the arbitral tribunal, record the settlement in the form of an arbitral award on agreed terms.

An arbitral award on agreed terms shall be made by Section 31 and shall state that it is an arbitral award.

An arbitral award on agreed terms shall have the same status and effect as any other arbitral award on the substance of the dispute.

Section 31 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- Form and contents

According to Section 31, Arbitral awards shall be signed and written by all the members of the tribunal.
  • The award shall be in writing.
  • The award shall be signed by all the members of the arbitral tribunal.
  • The award shall state the reasoning on which it is based.
  • Date and place of arbitration should be mentioned on the award.
  • A signed copy of the award should be sent to both parties. It should be signed by the arbitrator or the majority of the arbitrators of the tribunal.
  • There are cases where an interim award is necessary and can be provided.

The reason applied behind the award should be explicit clearly. However, if the parties have agreed to a settlement then no reason behind an arbitral award on agreed terms, needs to be showcased. The date of declaration of an Award and also the place wherever it's made shall be mentioned. The place of the award is additionally called the seat of arbitration. A replica of the award shall be issued to every party. Arbitral Tribunals can also pass an interim award.

Interim Award
  • The Arbitral Tribunal may at any time during proceedings, make or pass an interim award on any matter concerning which it may make a final award.
  • The interim award and the final award are not independent of each other. They together form part of one whole.
  • A final award is complete. It covers all the matters referred to by the arbitrator.
  • An interim award is a part that deals with only some matters referred to by the arbitrator.
Cost of arbitration- parties can fix the costs of arbitration mutually. If the parties fail to do so:
  • The costs are fixed by the Arbitral tribunals.
  • The Arbitral tribunals will specify in the Award, the amt of costs to be paid, how it has to be paid, and which party will pay the costs (arbitrators fees, legal fees, expenses of witnesses etc.
  • Section 32 of the Arbitrational and Conciliation Act- Termination

Termination of Arbitral Proceedings under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
Section 32 of the Arbitrational and Conciliation Act, 1996 is coherent with Article 32 of UNCITRAL Model Law. According to Section 32(1) of the Act termination of Arbitral proceedings takes place once the final award is declared by the arbitral tribunal.

The other three grounds for termination of arbitral proceedings are given under Sub-section 2 of Section 32.

To terminate the arbitration proceedings arbitral tribunal shall issue an order:
The arbitral proceedings are terminated either by the final arbitral award or by an order of the arbitral tribunal terminating the arbitral proceedings.

The arbitral tribunal terminates the arbitral proceedings in any of these cases where:
  • the claimant withdraws the claim and the respondent does not object to it,
  • both parties are in consensus and agree to terminate the arbitral proceedings, or
  • the continuation of the arbitral proceedings has become impossible or irrelevant considering the present facts of the case.
  • Also, the termination of the arbitral proceedings terminates the mandate of the arbitral

Tribunal and the arbitral tribunal becomes functus officio. The term "functus officio" means no longer holding office or having official authority once a decision is rendered.

In the last, The mandate of the arbitral tribunal will terminate with the termination of the procedure itself. Sub-section (3) of this section lays down that the above provisions are subject to Section 34(4) and section 33.

Section 33 of the Arbitrational and Conciliation Act- Correction and Interpretation

Section 33 plays an important role to ensure that the parties do not suffer due to the mistakes of the arbitration tribunal.

Correction and Interpretation of arbitral award- Correction and interpretation of an arbitral award is a post-award process. The important reason here is that human errors can occur. This means that there are situations when there are errors in an arbitral award. These errors could be simply typing errors or something major such as a decision missing from the proceedings in the final award. These kinds of errors put one party at a disadvantage.

These errors are unacceptable as the award, once granted, is not up for appeal. After paying for arbitral proceedings and investing time in them both parties would expect a well-drafted and considered arbitral award to be granted. A mistake in the award is disappointing; it creates problems during the enforcement of the award.

A limitation period of 30 days is put on the application submitted. After the completion of 30 days, no party can request correction or interpretation. It is also important to notice that one party who wants to move under Section 33 does not need the consent of the other party. It is only important that the other party is notified if any such proceeding is being applied for by the other party.

Additional award:
Such an award is made upon application by a party when a claim or claims are presented in the arbitral proceedings but omitted from the arbitral award. As per the Act, such a request for an additional award must be made within thirty days from the receipt of the arbitral award. Notice of the same must also be given to the other party.

The main difference to be noted in a correction/interpretation given and an additional award given is that:
  • The correction and interpretation made, merges with the original award. This is because there are only calculative or clerical changes to be made.
  • An additional award by its name itself implies that another award is granted. This award does not merge with the original award.

Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 specifies grounds for challenging an arbitral award rendered under Section 31. However, the challenge to an award under Section 34 is subject to certain limitations, such as the fact that it may only be contested within three months of receiving the award, which can be extended for another 30 days.

Conditions in which an arbitral award can be set aside
There are several grounds on account of which the Court can set aside the arbitral award, which is as follows:
  1. Incapacity of the party:
    If any of the parties is under the age of majority or is a minor, they are not obligated to follow any agreement in place. As a result, the agreement becomes void, and any award made in such a case may be revoked by the court.
  2. Agreement is not valid:
    For a contract to be enforceable, all of its essential elements must be met. If the contract is illegal, the arbitration agreement will be declared void as well, and the arbitral award can be revoked.
  3. Another party was not notified:
    Arbitral award shall be revoked if the party applying was not provided with advance notice of the arbitrator's appointment or the arbitral procedures or was otherwise unable to submit his case.
  4. Subject matter beyond the arbitration clause:
    The arbitral award will be challenged if it deals with an issue that is not addressed by the arbitration agreement or contains decisions on subjects that are outside the scope of the arbitration agreement.

Section 35 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- Finality and enforcement of Arbitral

Legal finality is conferred on the Arbitral Award by Section 35. The Arbitral Award shall be final and binding on the parties and the persons claiming under them respectively.

After a signed copy of the Award is handed over to the parties, the award does not become

immediately final and binding on the parties. There is an opportunity for the parties to apply for correction, interpretation of the award or an additional award or for setting aside the Award.

A time period or a time limit is specified for making the above-mentioned application. If the

applications are not made within the specified time limit, then on the expiry of that period, the Award will automatically become final and binding. But if the applications are made within the specified time limit, then the Award shall become final and binding as soon as the applications are disposed of by the Arbitrator or the Court.

The final Award is complete in all respects. There is nothing more to be done by the Arbitrator to make the Award legally binding on the parties. The effect of an Award that has become final and legally binding is that a second reference of the subject matter of the Award is not possible because the matter has become "res judicator." A suit cannot be filed by the parties on the same matter again in Court.
  • Section 36 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- Enforceability or Execution of the Arbitral Award
The arbitral award is enforceable/executable as if it were a decree of the Court. The Award can be enforced only after the expiry of the time limit specified for making an application for setting aside the Award u/s. 34. If the period expires and no application is made u/s. 34, then the arbitral award can be immediately enforced. But if an application is made u/s 34 within the time prescribed, the award can be enforced only if the application u/s 34 is refused by the Court. It also lays down that the arbitral award must be enforced under the CPC in the same manner as a decree of the court is enforced. (Order 21 of CPC 1908 and S.47 of the CPC).

S. 47 of CPC- when a court is executing a decree, all the questions relating to it must be decided by that court itself.

Section 37 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996- Appeal

Appeals (Section 37)- the right of appeal is a statutory right. It is a right given by a statute.

The right of appeal can be exercised only if it is provided in the statute.
  • Appeal against an order passed by the court
  • Appeal against an order passed by the arbitrator
Appeal against an order passed by the court S. 34 (1)
  • Granting or refusing to grant any interim relief under S.9 or
Setting aside or refusing to set aside an arbitral award under section 34.

Appeal against an order passed by the arbitrator S. 34 (2)

An order admitting or allowing the objection raised by a party stating that the arbitral tribunal does not have jurisdiction or an order admitting or allowing the objection raised by a party stating that the arbitral tribunal is exceeding the scope of its authority or An order granting an interim relief u/s 17 or An order refusing to grant an interim relied on u/s 17.

The time limit for filing appeals u/s 37
  • If the appeal is being filed in a High Court, within 90 days
  • If the appeal is being filed in any other Court, within 30 days from the date of the order.

Case Laws
  1. Cheran Properties Limited Vs Kasturi And Sons Limited

    An agreement was entered between Sporting Pastime India Limited (SPIL), Kasturi Sons and Limited (KSL), KC Palanisamy (KCP) and Hindcorp Resorts Private Limited (Hindcorp). Under the agreement, SPIL was to allot 240 lakhs equity shares to KSL against the book debts. KSL offered to sell 243 lakhs equity shares to KCP. KCP agreed to take over the business, shares and liabilities of SPIL as per the Agreement.

    KCP failed to comply with its obligations under the Agreement. KSL and Hindcorp initiated Arbitration proceedings against KCP and SPIL. The Arbitral Tribunal made its award directing KCP and SPIL to return the share certificates of SPIL to KSL and Hindcorp. KSL was directed to pay an amount of INR 3,58,11,000 together with interest at 12% p.a.

    KCP challenged this Judgement under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The challenge was dismissed by the High Court of Madras. KSL held proceedings against Cheran, a nominee of KCP to execute the award which directed the transmission of shares. KSL approached the National Company Law Tribunal, where it was held that Cheran is a nominee of KCP and holds shares on its behalf.

    • Whether an Arbitral award is binding on a third party?
    As per the above reasons, Court contended that the appeals are lacking in merit. The Appeals shall stand dismissed.
  2. Associate Builders V. Delhi Development Authority

    Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the defendant, awarded a construction work contract to the appellant. The latter had to build 168 Middle Income Group houses and 56 Lower Income Group houses, as per the contract. The tendered amount for the same was Rs.87,66,678. The appellant had to finish it within nine months.

    However, the work came to an end only within thirty-four months and was not fully complete. The appellant asserted the delay in the construction of the houses as a result of the defendant's defaults. The appellant made around fifteen claims regarding these defaults. The High Court of Delhi then appointed a sole arbitrator to arbitrate upon the matter. After going through all the claims, the arbitrator came down to the four specific ones that were the most relevant.

    Allowing these four claims and upholding that the resulting delay was indeed the respondent's (defendant) fault, the arbitrator stated that the respondent failed to fulfil its obligations, causing a delay in the work. It also led to the claimants (appellant) incurring heavy monetary losses to deal with the same. Subsequently, the defendant appealed to the Delhi High Court. It raised its objections to the arbitral award before the Single Judge. However, the learned Single Judge dismissed the same and sustained the arbitrator's decision.

    The defendant then appealed to the Division Bench of the same Court under section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, challenging the single judge's judgment. The two-judge bench overruled the single judge's decision, nullifying those four claims. The judges then came down to another two claims, setting aside the award given by the arbitrator. The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court by Special Leave Petition against the decision of the Division Bench.

    • Whether the Division Bench surpassed its jurisdiction in setting aside the arbitral award so challenged by the defendant or not.
    The arbitrator evaluated all the claims and made a reasonable verdict on the dispute. Even if there were any errors of fact, it was different from that of law. Hence, there was no ground for the judges to interfere. The Single Judge was correct in his judgment of upholding the arbitral award and dismissing the defendant's objections. Therefore, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal made by the appellant. It set aside the Division Bench's judgement, upholding the one given by the Single Judge. It also sustained the arbitral award as a whole.
  3. Jagdish Kishinchand Valecha V. Srei Equipment Finance Ltd

    In this case, the award has been challenged on the grounds of a breach of principles of natural justice. The petitioner contended that there have been certain procedural lapses in the conduct of arbitration by the sole arbitrator and a proper opportunity of being heard was not given to him, which violates Section 18 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996 (the Act) and, thus, qualifying as a valid ground u/s 34(2)(a)(iii) of the Act. The Respondent, though contested and argued that the petitioner was presented with sufficient opportunity to represent himself before the arbitrator, expressed its dissatisfaction with the Award and offered to consent to the appointment of an arbitrator for fresh appreciation and adjudication of the case.

    • The issue which arose before the Calcutta High Court was "Whether a court is entitled to appoint a new arbitrator for deciding the dispute between the parties after the arbitral award has been set aside u/s 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996?"
    The Calcutta High Court observed that the Arbitration Act, 1996 ensures party autonomy at all levels and the freedom of the parties to decide on the next course of action must therefore be preserved. Accordingly, after setting aside the award, the Court appointed a new arbitrator with the consent of the parties to decide the disputes afresh.
  4. Chintels India Ltd V. Bhayana Builders Pvt Ltd

    This case was brought as an appeal before the High Court of Delhi under Articles and 134A of the Indian Constitution which dealt with the main issue of whether the order passed by the single judge of the Delhi High Court refusing the condonation of delay beyond the prescribed time limit of the applicant concerning an arbitral award was within his power and correct and whether this order could be appealed against in the Supreme Court under Section 37(1)(c) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act.).

    • Whether the single Judge's order refusing to condone the delay in filling an application under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, 1996 an appealable order under Section 37(1)(c) of the said Act?
    The Supreme Court analyzed Section 37(1)(c) of the Arbitration Act, 1996 and held that the expression "setting aside or refusing to set aside arbitral award" must be read with the expression that follows" under Section 34. The Supreme Court explained the dichotomy between Section 34 and Section 37 of the Arbitration Act, 1996 and held that under Section 37(1)(a), where a party is referred to arbitration under Section 8, then, at that point no appeal lies.

    The reason being, the impact of such an order is that the parties should go to arbitration, and it is left to the learned Arbitrator to decide points under segment 16 of the Act, which then, at that point become the subject of an appeal under Section 37(2)(a).

The termination of proceedings procedure and making an arbitral award laid down is pretty straightforward. The Supreme Court has sometimes come up with suggested amendments and necessary interpretations. It's interesting to note that the termination of arbitral proceedings is different under Section 32 and Section 25. The conclusiveness of the award marks the termination of proceedings under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act under Section 32 along with three other grounds.

Arbitration awards are the final, binding decisions in an arbitration. They set forth the recovery that the parties are entitled to. A variety of different laws and rules apply to arbitration and the process of awards, but there are common themes. While there are options for recourse when an award has a mistake or is unjust, countries and courts prefer to honour arbitration awards to encourage the use of alternative dispute mechanisms. Awards will be enforced and ensure that a party entitled to the arbitration award receives what is due to them.

As things stand today, arbitration is poised to effect great changes to how dispute resolution is conducted. It brings with it the solemnity and finality of the judicial process and couples it with the procedural flexibilities of non-conventional dispute resolution methods. There is, however, an equally pressing need to recognize that much more can and should be done to improve the conduct of arbitral proceedings in India but most importantly, we feel that there is a need to effect a change in perceptions.

As our nation moves towards increasing litigiousness, alternative methods of dispute resolution might just provide the key to resolving the problems of overburdened caseloads, long pendency of cases and an all too frequent case of justice being delayed. For a long, the problem plaguing the effective implementation of ADR methods has been their perception as being subordinate to the court process- a perception shared and fostered by lawyers and people alike. It is imperative, that this be changed and this can only be achieved if there is active engagement from all the stakeholders in this process.

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