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Given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, resolving disputes through arbitration in India is now impossible. The quarantine measures, such as social distancing, are causing Indian courts & arbitration institutions to seek ways to continue to carry out their operations. And virtual arbitration may turn out to be a viable option for them. 

India: Remote Arbitration Regulation

Conducting remote arbitration in India involves the following steps:

  • submitting a request;
  • choosing & approving arbitrators;
  • conducting conferences on business management.

However, there can be certain problems at the stage of evidence presentation & a final hearing. In addition, holding a remote arbitration in India may result in the emergence of other challenges, including privacy concerns and technology-related challenges.

Legislation governing remote arbitration in the Republic of India is non-existent; the country’s arbitration legislation is also silent on that account. However, because India’s arbitration legislation provides parties with a fairly large degree of autonomy, it can well be used for conducting remote hearings in the Republic of India.

Among other things, it provides parties with a possibility to decide what procedure they will use. Should the parties fail to reach an agreement, arbitration tribunals can choose a procedure at their discretion & select a venue they deem suitable for:

  • listening to witnesses or experts;
  • participants’ consultations; 
  • checking documents.

IMPORTANT

Those considering resolving a dispute through virtual arbitration in the Republic of India  should keep in mind that they can resort to oral hearings. That said, they should also remember that there’s no clear requirement for a “face-to-face” hearing.

Videoconferencing

According to India's Supreme Court, videoconferencing can be used as an equivalent of face-to-face hearings (including for criminal proceedings). According to its guidelines, conducting arbitration via videoconferencing in India involves:

  • electronically registering cases;
  • holding hearings & questioning witnesses via video conferencing platforms;
  • using e-signatures for arbitral decisions;
  • emailing decisions to parties.

However, there are also problems involved in the settlement of disputes through remote arbitration in India. Some of the most formidable ones include:

  • reliability of witness testimony;
  • inappropriate influence on witnesses;
  • confidentiality. 

Conclusion

Resolving a dispute through arbitration in India requires seeking expert advice. So, why not let IQ Decision UK handle all the legal challenges for you? Our legal advisers will be happy to provide you with an individual consultation on the initiation of arbitration in India during the coronavirus pandemic.