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NEW DELHI: An increase in the cost of arbitration, once described as a preferred alternative dispute resolution process and strongly publicized, on Friday forced the Supreme Court to consider young and qualified lawyers as mediators instead of retired High Court and SC judges.
In the case of arbitration before a retired High Court judge, the parties express their frustration over the repeated adjournment of the proceedings on one or the other pretext of the retired judge but increase the fee for each sitting.
“We are joining hands and appealing to the apex court that some retired judges pay millions of rupees to drag out the effectiveness of the arbitration and get the parties to flee with unreasonable fees,” the lawyers told a bench of Justices DY Chandrachur and MR Shah.
While acting as an arbitrator, the bench was well aware of the difficulties faced by some dishonest retired judges in the otherwise effective alternative dispute resolution system.
Justice Chandrachud said the Bombay High Court had devised an innovative way to expedite arbitration proceedings by appointing young, competent and knowledgeable lawyers as mediators. “The Bombay High Court has started appointing young lawyers as mediators, who consider it an honor to be elected to the High Court. They conduct arbitration proceedings smoothly and often charge a small fee.”
It has been considered significant for almost two decades, encouraging SC arbitration and also taking steps towards building India as an international arbitration center. Last week, CJI NV Ramana opened the process of setting up an international arbitration center in Hyderabad, saying it would be both a reply and an assurance to Indian investors who feared India’s costly and time-consuming litigation process. He added that this is the first step towards the emergence of an alternative dispute resolution facility and hopes that it will become a reality in the next few months.

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