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Observing that arbitrators were charging “exorbitant” fee from parties in dispute, former Law Commission Chairman Justice A R Lakshmanan has said it was time the Centre steps in and brings about amendments to the Arbitration Act.

 Arbitrators should not charge “exorbitant fees,” Lakshmanan, who is also the chief of Indian Court of Sports Arbitration, said delivering the keynote address in a seminar on ‘Road Ahead for Arbitration in India’ here yesterday.

 “I had an occasion to consider the amounts charged by the arbitrators as their remuneration and I had opined that it is time that the Central government steps in and brings about the amendments to the Arbitration Act, stipulating the rates of fees payable to the arbitrators..”

He pointed out that a main reason for resorting to arbitration was to avoid undue delay in getting disputes settled in normal courts of law under Arbitration Act . “But the experience has been that even the arbitration procedure has been made as much cumbersome and time consuming.”

 Retired judges who become arbitrators “usually treat the arbitration proceedings in the same manner as traditional litigations” and they approach the arbitration with a similar mind set as for normal litigation, Lakshmanan said.

 “With the result, the awards invariably end up in courts increasing the timeframe for resolution of the disputes.”

 As for suitability and qualification of the arbitrator for various cases, he said it would be better to choose an experienced person in the field of dispute. “He should not only be a specialist in the matter, but should also have adequate knowledge of law.”

 He requested the Indian Council of Arbitrators (ICA) to consider his suggestion that arbitrators from Tamil Nadu be nominated for arbitration disputes arising out of /within the territorial jurisdiction of Tamil Nadu.

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