Independence & Impartiality of Arbitrators

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to the method of settling disputes outside the courtroom. ADR includes evaluation, negotiation, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. Arbitration is a widely and well-established used means to end disputes. Arbitration is different from litigation. In arbitration, the different sides or we can say both the parties select a fair-minded outsider, known as an arbitrator; concur ahead of time to consent to the authority’s honour; and afterwards take an interest in a meeting at which the two sides can introduce proof and declaration.

The arbitrator’s judgement is generally last, and courts rarely reconsider it. In this article we are going to discuss how the independence and impartiality of arbitrators are significant loci to be completely considered to guarantee the proficient and appropriate working of the assertion procedures and effective goal of business questions. Arbitration is administered by the overarching standard of “fair treatment” to guarantee a specific degree of equity and the reasonable and equivalent treatment of the parties.


In India, mediations are represented by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 which comprises two sections. Where Part I covering all discretion led in India, accommodates non-intercession of courts, arrangement, and locale of the discretionary council, direct of procedures, requirement of grants, and so forth.; Part II containing arrangements of current law covers arrangements for implementation of unfamiliar honours. Section 11 of the Arbitration Act, 1996, accommodates arrangement of authorities. According to the Section, the parties for arbitration are free to choose any method for appointment of arbitrators. In any case, it is in circumstances of nonattendance of arrangement or no following of concurred method, that the chief justice may intercede to choose an arbitrator. 

The Hon’ble Supreme Court analysed the intensity of Chief Justice to name an authority in a catena of cases like Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd and Ors v. Mehul Construction Co. furthermore, S.B.P. and Co v. Patel Engineering and Anr., in these cases it was held that the force practiced by the Chief Justice on his assign under S. 11 of the Act is a legal force and not a managerial power. In Anil Kumar v. B.S. Neelkanta AIR 2010, it was seen that Chief Justice or his delegate needs to choose the issues whenever raised, with respect to: (I) territorial jurisdiction; (ii) the presence of Arbitration Agreement; (iii) Arbitral Dispute. Therefore, where Parties are allowed to choose or incorporate a provision for the arrangement of an arbitrator in their understanding, the intensity of Chief Justice to select a judge is restricted to explicit circumstances and generally emerges in instances of organized discrepancies.

Independence and Impartiality

Independence and impartiality of arbitrators is a significant part of the arbitration process. While the previous guidelines out of any enthusiasm of authority in the contest, the last permits an equivalent open door for the two players to introduce their case. For example, in Reliance Industries Ltd. and Ors. v. Union of India (2014), it was seen that contemplations of identity were not compulsory while settling on a choice on the arrangement of the third arbitrators if the two selected arbitrators neglected to arrive at an agreement. UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, 1985 which structures an integral part of Part I of the 1996 Act accommodates the grounds on which an arbitrator can be challenged under Article 12 of the Act.

Arbitration Act, 1996 provides grounds for challenge under Section 12, which are as follows

“(1) When a person is approached in connection with his possible appointment as an arbitrator, he shall disclose in writing any circumstances likely to give rise to justifiable doubts as to his independence or impartiality.

(2) An arbitrator, from the time of his appointment and throughout the arbitral proceedings, shall, without delay, disclose to the parties in writing any circumstances referred to in sub-section (1) unless they have already been informed of them by him.

(3) An arbitrator may be challenged only if—

(a) circumstances exist that give rise to justifiable doubts as to his independence or impartiality, or

(b) he does not possess the qualifications agreed to by the parties.

(4) A party may challenge an arbitrator appointed by him, or in whose appointment he has participated, only for reasons of which he becomes aware after the appointment has been made.”

There exists a misgiving and suspicion of clear predisposition in Government contracts as in assertion arrangements Government named people are significantly given the part to settle as arbitrators. The Apex court digressing from its prior view in cases like Union of India v. M.P. Gupta and Ace Pipeline Contract v. Bharat Petroleum that the act of joining a named referee who is a representative of the enterprise, isn’t ipso facto a ground to raise an assumption of inclination, or favouritism, or absence of autonomy on his part; properly tended to this issue in the cases Denel Proprietary Ltd. v. Bharat Electronics Ltd. furthermore, Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd. v. Raja Transport (P) Ltd and, Bipromasz Bipron Trading Sa v. Bharat Electronics Ltd. 

In these cases, it was held that disregarding the named arbitrator/arbitral council and naming an autonomous arbitrator will be the special case to the standard, to have turn for legitimate reasons. In the presence of such obvious predisposition, the Chief Justice is vested with the prudence of to delegate a judge in standardized assertion courts so the uprightness of the intervention is maintained and the chance of inclination is diminished to the base. The 2015 amendment hence perceives evident inclination and the harm that it can do to a discretion continuing. 

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act currently gives lucidity and assurance with respect to the pre-essentials of the way toward naming judges. This fills in as the initial move towards guaranteeing that referees designated in India are fair and free, in order to assist the reason for equity. The blunder of not perceiving evident inclination has been corrected by method of the 2015 Amendment to the Arbitration Act. Section 12 of the altered Act expresses that any individual who is drawn nearer to be an authority in a specific case needs to reveal any immediate or aberrant relationship with the gatherings or corresponding to the topic in question, which may influence his/her freedom or fairness.

On the off chance that a mediator has been named in opposition to these arrangements, or if there is an adjustment in conditions after the assertion procedures have started that render a judge ineligible, he can be taken out and supplanted with a substitute. The main manner by which an ineligible gathering can be made an arbitrator is if both the gatherings explicitly, consensually and with full information about the inclination or absence of autonomy of the authority, consent to it by the method of an agreement. 

Moreover, another schedule (seventh schedule) has additionally been embedded and an arrangement has been present that despite any earlier understanding of the gatherings, if the arbitrator’s relationship with the gatherings or the insight or the topic of debate falls in any of the classifications referenced in the seventh schedule, it would go about as an ineligibility to go about as an Arbitrator. The special case to this provision being that, resulting in questions having emerged, the gatherings may waiver this by explicitly consents to the equivalent by going into a composed arrangement. Taking into account the above mentioned, it would diminish the different Government bodies to choose their workers or specialists as Arbitrators in Arbitrations concerning the said Government bodies; which has been a predominant pattern and would be a much-needed development.


In spite of the fact that there exist numerous lacunae with respect to specification and translation of the Act, the deficiencies in the field of discretion are as a rule truly tended to and will through the method of alterations and points of reference be viably settled. Consequently, the independence and impartiality of arbitrators are significant loci to be altogether considered to guarantee the effective and appropriate working of the assertion procedures and fruitful goal of business disputes. 

The other aspect which requires some thought is that, albeit two distinctive discretion petitions were documented at the pertinent time for looking for arrangement of second just as the arbitrator, in any case, it took over two years to finish the arrangement cycle. The pith of assertion lies in the rapid goal of a question, and if an arbitrator can’t be named at the soonest conceivable chance, the reason would appear to be crushed. Before coming to the contemplated end result, the Supreme Court alluded to outstanding commentators and applied their view that capability, experience and trustworthiness ought to be the models for arrangement of a judge. 

Along these lines, in the Indian situation the CJI has been vested with a wide circumspection to choose an arbitrator in an ICA, thinking about all fundamental elements which would save the trustworthiness of the discretion, and basically, would not prompt any chance of predisposition sometime in the future. The amendment brought to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 regarding the provision for Appointment of Arbitrators is without a doubt a valuable advance towards making assertion dependable and powerful. Prior the Act however conveyed the arrangement; the new law supports straightforwardness and resuscitates confidence in the arbitral methodology by causing the Arbitrator to give a statement about his freedom and fair-mindedness. This is undeniably more sensible when contrasted with the prior idea which was just a simple convention and needed teeth. 

The above corrections have cleared a major route for the freedom and neutrality of the Arbitrators and eliminating the principle detour towards fruitful procedures and fair-minded Arbitral Award leaving almost no or rather no degree for fairness and biasses. 


  1. Do you think Independence and Impartiality of arbitrators is needed?
  2. Do you think amendment has brought good in the Act?
  3. Is ADR effective to solve disputes?
  4. Are courts using Independence and Impartiality of Arbitrators effectively?
  5. Is provision of the seventh schedule of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015 needed?



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