Retired judges keeping country’s arbitral system in tight-fist grip: VP

New Delhi: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar lamented on Saturday that retired judges have kept the country’s arbitral system in a “tight-fist grip”, denying a chance to other qualified minds, and echoed the remarks of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud that it resembles an “old boys’ club”.
Dhankhar suggested that the time has come when people need to introspect and move forward by bringing about necessary changes, including, if required, by legislation.
“Nowhere on the planet, in no other country, in no other system there is such a tight-fist grip on the arbitral system by retired judges. In our country, this is at large,” he said.
The vice president lauded the “bold” remarks of Justice Chandrachud — a person, he said, is changing the landscape of the judiciary in the country — on the arbitral system in India.
Dhankhar said the CJI reflected on the lack of diversity in appointing arbitrators. Justice Chandrachud had said retired judges dominate the field, he pointed out.
“He goes on to add, and I salute him for this, he said while other qualified candidates are overlooked, he implied that this reflects an old boys’ club mentality within the arbitration space,” Dhankhar said.
He added that the “bold” statement of Justice Chandrachud would go a long way in making the arbitral process in India “spinally strong”.
Dhankhar said India is known for its human resources. “In every domain, in every walk of life, we have people who can take a look at it. But they are not built up to adjudicate an arbitrary process,” he rued.
The time has come when people need to introspect and move forward by bringing about necessary changes, including, if required, by legislation, the vice president asserted.
Addressing an event of the International Court of Arbitration here, he said institutional arbitration is better than ad-hoc mechanisms as it provides a sound system for arriving at conclusions.
Dhankhar also said there is a need to evolve a mechanism where the arbitral process does not suffer from judicial interventions.
He said while approaching for relief is a remedy prescribed in law, amicable dispute resolution in arbitration proceedings could mean lesser parties approaching courts for intervention.
The vice president said he is of the view that when disputes last long, the legal fraternity benefits.
“But our fiscal gain cannot be at the cost of national gain, national prosperity … economy will gallop … when the dispute resolution mechanism is fair, equitable and conclusive,” he observed.
Dhankhar said there are bound to be disputes as those are natural to commercial activity. “We, therefore, are in need of having a system that is robust, fast, scientific, effective and delivers with the best of human brains,” he said.
Dhankhar said he is of the view that there has been some growth of arbitrary institutions in the country but those institutions need to take central space and necessary changes in law are required to be introduced to make them meaningful.
“This will cleanse the system of which we do not regard as wholesome because this cannot be a pastime. It has to be a deep professional commitment,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.