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“Revolutionizing Arbitration”: IIAC Launches Groundbreaking Regulations for Micro and Small Enterprises

Background –

On June 7, 2024, the India International Arbitration Centre (IIAC) introduced the India International Arbitration Centre (Conduct of Micro and Small Enterprises Arbitration) Regulations 2024. Recognizing the importance of micro and small enterprises in the Indian economy, these regulations aim to enhance the efficiency and speed of dispute resolution within this crucial sector.

Update –

The IIAC has acknowledged the necessity of promoting quicker and more effective dispute resolution mechanisms for micro and small enterprises. These newly established regulations are part of IIAC’s ongoing efforts to facilitate arbitration in this significant economic segment. According to a press release, the regulations underscore the importance of swift and efficient dispute resolution processes.

Key features –

  1. Fee Structure – There are no filing fees for claims or counterclaims, and the arbitrator’s fees are set at a rate lower than that specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Additionally, the administration fees charged to parties are kept to a minimum.
  2. Fast Track Procedure – The default method for all arbitrations is a fast track procedure based on the pleadings, documents, and submissions provided by the parties. Oral hearings are held only if all parties request them or if the Arbitral Tribunal deems them necessary for clarifying issues. The arbitral award is to be issued within six months from the date the Registrar informs the parties about the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal. Parties can request that the fast-track procedure not be followed, subject to the Arbitral Tribunal’s approval.
  3. Appointment of Arbitrator – A Sole Arbitrator is appointed by the IIAC Chairperson, advised by the Advisory Panel. The selection process ensures that the arbitrator is independent, impartial, and capable of conducting the arbitration efficiently and promptly.
  4. Legal Aid – Micro and small enterprises experiencing financial difficulties can apply for legal aid by submitting supporting documents to IIAC. Approved applications may result in a waiver of up to 50% of the IIAC’s administration fee. Additionally, a counsel may be provided at no cost, subject to the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision on arbitration costs.
  5. Use of Artificial Intelligence – IIAC plans to implement Artificial Intelligence software developed by Digital India Bhashini Division, an Independent Business Division within the Digital India Corporation under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. This technology aims to simplify and enhance the transparency of the arbitration process across India, irrespective of the parties’ regional or linguistic differences. Features include real-time translation of documents and speech in various languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to English/Hindi, marking the first use of such technology in dispute resolution in India.
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Compliance Report by Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology on Regulation of Social Media Platforms: Delhi High Court

Title:  X & Ors. v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) & Anr.

Ordered on:  17th August, 2023

+  CRL.M.C. 2214/2020, CRL.M.C. 2399/2020 & CRL.M.C. 2215/2020

CORAM: HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE SWARANA KANTA SHARMA

Introduction

The Delhi High Court received a compliance report from the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) in response to a previous order seeking compliance with the court’s judgment. The judgment had addressed the regulation of social media platforms and intermediaries to make them safer by curbing the use of vulgar language and profanity.

Facts

The compliance report was submitted as per the court’s order dated April 12, 2023. The court had requested compliance with its judgment issued on March 6, 2023, in petitions related to the regulation of social media platforms. The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) filed the report, acknowledging the court’s directions and observations and assuring that the concerns raised by the court would be considered in the formulation of policies and regulations.

Analysis

The compliance report stated that MeitY had taken note of the directions and observations provided in the court’s judgment, along with subsequent orders dated April 12, 2023, and June 1, 2023. The report highlighted specific paragraphs (60, 76, 84, and 85) of the judgment that were of relevance. MeitY affirmed that it would incorporate rules and regulations to regulate social media platforms and intermediaries in order to make them safer from the use of vulgar language, profanity, and bad words, as per the court’s judgment.

Order

The court, after reviewing the compliance report, acknowledged that the matter pertained to a policy decision to be taken by the Ministry and the legislature. The court expressed satisfaction with the compliance report, considering it as sufficient compliance with its order. The court was assured that the concerns raised in its judgment would be addressed and incorporated into future rules and regulations pertaining to social media platforms.

Conclusion

The compliance report submitted by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology reflects the government’s acknowledgment of the court’s concerns regarding the regulation of social media platforms. The court’s decision to accept the compliance report as sufficient indicates its confidence that the Ministry will undertake the necessary policy measures to address the issues raised in the court’s judgment and ensure a safer online environment.

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Written by- Ankit Kaushik

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