Indian courts not only have a pro-arbitration stance but also possess absolute independence and the constitutional strength to treat all parties, including foreign entities, equally and equitably, Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said on Tuesday at the annual meet of Indo-German Chamber of Commerce.
Delivering the inaugural address at Germany’s Dortmund, the CJI highlighted the role of arbitration in resolving disputes, pointing out that every investor looks forward to a destination which is socially and economically stable, along with a strong legal framework, to protect investments and resolve disputes.
In the past two decades, India has followed the path of actively encouraging arbitration, mediation and other modes of alternative dispute resolution, justice Ramana said, suggesting that international arbitration has some clear benefits over traditional litigation mechanism, since the latter provides a greater degree of autonomy to the parties, uniform laws, flexibility of procedure and lower cost.
“In recent years, there has been some apprehension in the minds of parties about increasing interference of domestic courts in the arbitration process,” he said. “Let me assure you, Indian courts are known for their pro-arbitration stance. Courts in India assist and support arbitration and leave the substantive part of adjudication to the arbitral tribunal itself.”
The judge further endeavoured to remove doubts about the independence of the judiciary in India, emphasising that the Indian judiciary eternally guards constitutional rights in the world’s largest democracy.
“You can trust the Indian judiciary for its absolute independence and its inherent constitutional strength to treat all parties equally and equitably. The Constitutional courts of India — the high courts and the Supreme Court — have the power to judicially review every act of the Government. They can strike down any law that is not in tune with the constitutional principles. They can also set aside the arbitrary measures of the executive,” said the CJI.
Justice Ramana added that the Indian Constitution enables any person or entity, including a foreign entity, to approach any legal forum in India for redressal of grievances and that the Indian courts do not discriminate on the basis of country of origin. “All are equal before the courts of law in India,” the CJI assured.