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Legal Leadership Conclave on Arbitration & Mediation: minimal state or judicial intervention needed



The need for autonomy of Arbitration and Mediation process and keep it free from interference or intervention by state and judiciary was stressed upon by judges and lawyers who spoke in the first technical session of the Legal Leadership Conclave on Challenges and Future of Arbitration and Mediation in India organised in Bengaluru by India Legal magazine and ENC group.

The session was chaired by former Chief Justice of India,  Justice TS Thakur and co-chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice M Shivraj Patil.

Speaking at the session, former Supreme Court judge, Justice BN Srikrishna talked about “Challenges and Reforms in Indian Arbitration and Mediation System – Way Forward”.  He emphasized on the need for arbitration process to have autonomy.

The lesser the interference by the state authorities the better is the spirit of Arbitration, he said. “Unfortunately in this country arbitration scenario is dominated by judges,” said Justice Srikrishna. The council should be independent in the sense it should not be dominated by any court or judge.

Mediation and Arbitration are the ideas whose time has come. Now if ultimately all resolution of dispute happens as result of Artificial Intelligence, the only place where natural intelligence can play is the human touch which is why arbitration must be as informal as possible.

AS Uday Holla, former Advocate General of Karnataka, spoke on Global trends in institutional arbitration and what are the challenges.

Arguing against judicial intervention in arbitration, he said, “Why do people go to Singapore Arbitration centre or Paris? It is because the judicial interventions are very meager and very less.”

“It is in this context that the chairman very rightly said, there is a need of change of mindset among the judges. Yes there are cases where arbitral awards are absolutely bad but then not in every case can the arbitral awards be set aside,” he said.

Also Read: Legal Leadership Conclave on Challenges and Future of Arbitration begins in Bangalore

He spoke of the need to adapt to new technology and said Arbitration is a process where technology can be used more abundantly than in courts.Legal Leadership Conclave

Observing that ultimately the need of the hour is justice at the earliest, he said “it is this context that arbitration is a forum which all of us think is the most efficient and most time efficient forum for dispensation of justice.”

Justice Alok Aradhe, speaking on Challenges to Arbitral awards – Commercial courts and need for Training of judges, pointed out the cost of commercial dispute resolution has gone down from Rs 10 lakhs to 3 lakhs.

He said arbitration jurisdictions like Singapore and Stockholm are most successful because of sufficient support from the government and a skilled panel of arbitrators, besides the time-bound approach in the dispute resolution process.

Also Read: Legal Leadership Conclave on Arbitration & Mediation: the need and the problems

Speaking about growing trend towards mediation and arbitration, Justice Aradhe said it has been seen lately that parties directly approach arbitration centres. He said It is a positive outcome as it reduces case overload in the judiciary besides the individual dispute getting resolved amicably.

He said Mumbai’s international arbitration centre opened in July and a lot is hoped to be achieved through it.

He also had a word about courts intervention in arbitration process, sayinh, “Judges must consider the adverse implication of modifying or interfering with an arbitral award as it plays into the ethos of the ADR mechanism. Our country should be in sync with global standards. Arbitral awards thus should be upheld with the same sanctity as a judgment from the courts.”

Justice V Jagannathan, speaking about Arbitration as an effective tool for ADR process , pointed to the massive pendency of cases in judiciary. “According to National Judicial date published recently, 3 crore cases are pending in India and 65 lakh cases pending in the last 5 years. If this trend continues, the system itself will collapse like building collapsed in flood recently in Uttarkhand,” he said.

To address the issue, arbitration as the means for alternative dispute resolution  has come as a boon for the people of India and particularly for investors who want to make investment and make India economically very strong.

He stated some reasons why the Arbitration Act needs to be implemented forcefully:

Dependency and pressure on the courts are so much that the courts are unable to dispose cases within a short time.  To address these pending cases and make people enjoy the fruit of their litigations, Arbitration consideration Act 1940 was modified and comprehensively made into 1996 Act which made many provisions to curtail the cost. As of now, 2019 Amendment Act was passed only on August 8. He said there are surely some loopholes in the act which needs to be changed.

If the country is to improve, all stake holders – lawyers, judges and arbitrators and all concerned will have to take serious steps to ensure people of the country get access to justice and justice is delivered in time.

Also Read: Mediation will find pride of place as a tool to allay Injustice: Ex CJI Venkatachaliah

“We have witnessed Industrial Revolution, green revolution in the country; we are now in for Arbitration Revolution. This conclave/ conference should be the beginning of Arbitration Revolution to alter judicial scenario of the country and let people enjoy the fruits of going to courts and let foreign investors come to India – make India a Hub of Arbitration,” said Justice Jagannathan.

Avinash Ambale, an expert on Artificial Intelligence,  spoke about  Use of Artificial Intelligence in conflict Resolution. He pointed out that Artificial Intelligence (AI) does not understand language. It understands codes. AI can do a semantic search, or a statistical analysis of words, much like the Google translate. In the legal system, AI can function through the LKIF(Legal Knowledge Interchange Format).

At present, he said there are gaps in data collation due to an absence of an exhaustive law lexicon, or a legal semantic dictionary that will tell the AI a single meaning attributed to each word. The AI can capture the literal meaning. “However, there is pre-eminence of content that has interpretative value which will be lost in translation to the AI system<” he pointed out.  The single biggest thing lacking in AI is “adversarial inference”.

“AI presents a one-sided forward probability, but gets stumped if asked to judge between two opposing probabilities with opposing bulk of evidences and opposing bulk of arguments pitted against one another. That can be called the AI logic of tomorrow, as technology is continuously evolving to reach there,” he said.

AI today is capable of deriving causal inference, he said. Citing an instance of application of AI in legal process, he mentioned “Heneghan v Manchester Dry Docks” where all factors were presented to the courts in a fair trial process and to the AI to arrive at a judgment simultaneously. The compensation awarded was nearly the same and it speaks for AI’s efficiency in the judicial system, said Ambale.

However, he said in conclusion, “AIs are hyper-rational agents and “arbitration with a human touch” is something that AI hasn’t attained yet. Currently, AI is incapable of “equitable distribution to all” which an ADR forum intends to achieve. AI is completely data driven and can be fully relied upon for objective reasoning. A lot is still left for AI to achieve.”

India News

Himachal Pradesh exit polls: BJP may retain power, Congress a close second, AAP flops

The single-phase polls in Himachal Pradesh on November 12 registered a record 75.6 per cent polling on all 68 seats.



Himachal Pradesh exit polls: Neck and neck race between BJP and Congress, AAP not in it

Himachal Pradesh is to witness a close fight between the BJP and the Congress for the 68-member Assembly, said exit polls on Monday, the day polling ended in the second phase in Gujarat.

With the halfway mark at 35 in the Himachal House, four exit polls predicted a BJP victory with the party expected to win 36 seats, just one over the halfway number. The exit poll projections seemed to favour the Congress’s return in the state. Congress is also expected to get some 30 seats. Thus, the BJP and the Congress are in a neck and neck competition. This also holds true if one goes by the trend in Himachal Pradesh of people alternating between the two big parties.

The single-phase polls in Himachal Pradesh on November 12 registered a record 75.6 per cent polling on all 68 seats. In the 2017 Assembly elections, the voter turnout was 75.57 percent.

While 76.4 percent of women voters exercised their franchise, only 72.4 per cent of male voters did the same in 2022. The voting percentage for the third gender was 68.4 per cent. There were 27.88 lakh men and 27.36 lakh women in the electorate overall, with 38 voters registered as third genders.

The state election department focused heavily on 11 constituencies with low voter turnout in the 2017 elections for the assembly, according to the SEO statement.

The voter turnout finally increased in nine of these constituencies—Dharampur, Jaisinghpur, Shimla, Baijnath, Bhoranj, Solan, Kasumpati, Sarkaghat, Jaswan Pragpur, Hamirpur, and Badsar—by up to seven per cent of the 11 seats.

The Dharampur seat had a 6.93 percentage point increase from 63.6 per cent in 2017 to 70.54 per cent in the recent election. However, the percentage decreased significantly in Shimla and Baijnath, from 63.93% in 2017 to 62.53% and from 64.92% in 2017 to 63.46%, respectively.

The exit polls predict a close fight between the grand old party and the saffron party according to Aaj Tak-Axis My India the BJP is at 29 whereas its counterpart is at 35, however, as per the ABP News-Cvoter exit poll prediction the BJP is at succeeding with 37 whereas the Congress is at 28. The Aam Aadmi Party has failed to change any flare in the voting trends as the exit polls predict nothing for AAP in Himachal Pradesh.

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India News

Exit poll results 2022 for Gujarat: BJP’s clean sweep, Congress trails behind, AAP not there yet

According to the Election Commission of India, approximately 58.68 per cent of polling was recorded till 5 pm in the second phase of voting.



Gujarat Exit Polls

Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 concluded on Monday with the second phase of voting. The first phase of voting took place on December 1. With the end of voting at 5 pm today, exit poll results for the 182 seats across Gujarat are finally out.

According to the Election Commission of India, approximately 58.68 per cent of polling was recorded till 5 pm in the second phase of voting.

For the seventh consecutive year, the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to clean sweep in Gujarat, polls of exit polls predicted. The News X-Jan Ki Baat Exit Polls 2022 says BJP will win 117-140 seats while Congress+NCP will secure 34-51 seats and AAP is likely to win 6-13 seats.

Exit Polls of TV9 Gujarati predicted BJP to win 125-130 seats, Congress+NCP 40-50 seats, and AAP 3-5 seats. The Republic- P-MARQ exit polls had BJP winning between 128-148 seats, Congress+NCP 30-42 seats, and AAP 2-10 seats.

The Times Now-ETG exit polls say the BJP is likely to win 131 seats, the Congress+NCP is expected to secure 41 seats, and AAP is likely to win 6 seats.

Prominent seats in the second phase of voting were Viramgam from where Hardik Patel is contesting on the BJP ticket, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel’s Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad, and Gandhinagar South from where BJP’s Alpesh Thakor is contesting.

For those unversed, exit polls are surveys carried out by media organisations outside the polling booths through sampling methods to forecast the likely results of the elections before the final outcome is declared. The counting of votes for the Gujarat Assembly polls will be conducted on December 8.

Read Also: Rampur Bypolls: Voters say they were denied their voting rights, allege brutality by police | Watch

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party fielded candidates in all 16 seats this year while Congress is contesting in 90 seats and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has pitted candidates in 2 seats.

Reports said around 833 candidates contested across the 93-seat polling for the second phase of voting in the state. These are prominent seats for the Bharatiya Janata Party which has dominated for almost three decades now.

This year, Gujarat witnessed a three-way tough fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party, Aam Aadmi Party, and Congress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel also cast their votes and PM Modi also urged people to step out to vote.

Reports said the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly polls saw low turnout with a 34.7 per cent turnout was recorded till 1 pm on December 1.

The final results for the Gujarat Assembly Elections 2022 will be out on December 8 and India will find out which party retained its power and serve Gujarat for the next five years.

The Exit Polls hint at a clean sweep for the ruling BJP in the Gujarat Assembly election as according to Aaj Tak-Axis My India the saffron party is at 140 and the grand old party is trailing behind at 23, the Aam Aadmi Party has predicted to have performed poorly as they are at 15.

As per the ABP News-Cvoter, the BJP is again sweeping the election at 134 as opposed to Congress, who are at Congress 37 as per exit polls; the Aam Aadmi Party is also falling behind at just 7.

MP: Congress top leaders Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh hug each other after Rahul Gandhi urges them | WATCH

Gujarat elections: CM Bhupendra Patel, Amit Shah cast vote, voter turnout 19.17 pc till 11 am

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India News

MCD exit polls: Pollsters say AAP victory near definite

Though it may have been a civic poll, the BJP and the AAP had put forward their whole machinery to win.



MCD exit polls: Pollsters say AAP victory near definite

The Aam Aadmi Party, which has been in power in Delhi since 2015, looks set to emerge victorious in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. The BJP, which has been holding the MCD for quite a while, looks like it will come second while the Congress will return single figures in the elections held to the city’s 250 wards.

An Aaj Tak exit poll said the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is expected to win on 160 seats or thereabouts. The Times Now exit poll predicted a similar end for the Aam Aadmi Party, projecting it winning some 150 wards.

The Aaj Tak exit poll predicts BJP winning 69-91 wards and on the other hand, Times Now exit poll predicts the BJP will gain power in 84-94 wards.

The returns for the Congress seem below par as mentioned earlier. The voter turnout for the municipal polls was just 50 per cent, the elections were held on December 4. It needs to be remembered that this is a municipal election and not a high-stakes Assembly election unlike the one in Gujarat, the results for which will be out on Thursday, December 8, along with results for Himachal Pradesh.

Though it may have been a civic poll, the BJP and the AAP had put forward their whole machinery to win.

Data from the State Election Commission showed that there were 1,45,05,358 registered voters in Delhi overall, of which 78,93,418 were men, 66,10,879 were women, and 1,061 transgenders.

This is the first civic election after delimitation. From 2012 to 2022, Delhi had 272 wards and three corporations—North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation—which were later reunified into a single MCD, which came back into being on May 22 this year. The North Delhi body is not to be confused with the New Delhi Municipal Council which is the civic body for what remains Lutyens’ Delhi.

The campaign promises the BJP had put forward, included waiver of property tax dues of 12 years among other things. This will be a fillip for the AAP since the Delhi government has been at the mercy of the MCD following the sweeper wage row which had led to the piling up of garbage all across the Capital.

Disclaimer: These are just exit polls and for the real results, you will have to wait for Wednesday.

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