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ARBITRATION WORLD India’s new Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance 2015 By Ashish Chugh and Urvashi Malhotra (Singapore) India’s Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the “1996 Act”) was modelled upon the UNCITRAL Model Law and was intended to make arbitration an efficient and expeditious mode of resolving disputes in India in a manner consistent with international standards. However, after being in force for almost two decades, it had become evident that there were considerable shortcomings and concerns in the working of the 1996 Act that needed to be rectified if the conduct of arbitration and the enforcement of foreign awards in India were to become more user-friendly and truly inspire confidence in the domestic and international business community. Most of these shortcomings and concerns essentially stemmed from interference by the Indian courts in the arbitral process, high costs and endemic delays. In an effort to resolve these issues, and based largely on the report of the Law Commission of India, which conducted a detailed review of the existing legal framework and provided salutary recommendations to improve it, the President of India promulgated the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 (the “2015 Ordinance”), effective October 23, 2015. As discussed further below, the changes brought about by the 2015 Ordinance are generally positive and demonstrate a step in the right direction to ameliorate the unsatisfactory operation of the 1996 Act. TIME-BOUND ARBITRATIONS In response to the issue of endemic delays, the 2015 Ordinance mandates time-bound arbitrations. An arbitral tribunal is now obliged to make an award within 12 months from the date it is constituted. Whilst this period can be extended up to a period of 6 months by mutual 66 K&L Gates: ARBITRATION WORLD