Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre announces Delhi Centre

Bar & Bench March 14 2018

The Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre (NPAC) is opening an arbitration centre in New Delhi. The centre will be located at Gopal Das Bhawan, Barakhamba Road and is slated to open in April, 2018.  With its establishment, the NPAC will be the first Indian arbitration body to have two centers in the country.

The new centre will be another milestone to an arbitration movement sought to spearheaded by the NPAC. To put it in the words of Arvind Datar, who sits on the centre's Board of Directors,

I have always believed that India’s journey as an arbitral destination can only be driven by an indigenous arbitral centre. It is with this vision, the founding directors of the NPAC, planned to begin an arbitration centre in the memory of Nani Palkhivala. We believe the NPAC is poised to, and will steer India towards its arbitral goals”.

The NPAC’s original center, at Chennai, was set up in 2005. The centre was inaugurated by Fali S Nariman, in the presence of Justice MN Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India and Justice AP Shah, the then Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

The work handled by the NPAC includes disputes across the board, for private as well as public sector undertakings, involving various sectors, including shipping, constructions, property, partnership banking, insurance transactions, foreign collaborations and joint venture disputes.

The NPAC’s Panel of Arbitrators includes Justice RC Lahoti, Justice Srikrishna, Justice SB Barucha, Justice Sujata Manohar and several other eminent, retired Supreme Court and High Court judges, civil servants and engineers. Administrative services for the conduct of arbitral proceedings are provided by the centre's secretariat, headed by its registrar, Dr Durgalakshmi.

The Board of Governors includes Justice MN Venkatachaliah, Senior Advocates KK Venugopal, Soli F Sorabjee and Iqbal Chagla, TS Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner of India and BS Raghavan, IAS (Retd.).

The Board of Directors are Arvind Datar, NL Rajah, MS Krishnan, VS Jayakumar, Murari Raghavan, Anand Raghvan, Kasturi Balaji, Gaurav Pachnanda and Payal Chawla. S Mahalingam, former CFO of Tata Consultancy Services, serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

The NPAC has a formidable track-record in the speed and efficacy of its arbitrations, clocking an average of seven months. Independent rules followed by the NPAC have been used by other centres, as a model to be followed. Interestingly, the NPAC also has rules for regulating ad-hoc arbitrations.

The impressive work carried out by the NPAC, has been recognised by the Law Commission in its 246th Report. Its Chennai centre has also been formally recognised by the Madras High Court through an order passed in September 2005 under Section 11(b) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

Since 2010, the NPAC, in association with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, has also been providing courses for training arbitrators. Last month, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy, the Centre conducted a workshop for training district judges.  Further, the NPAC, through a sister Trust has also launched a Bar Association for commercial and arbitration lawyers, known as the Indian Commercial and Arbitration Bar Association located at New Delhi.

The NPAC also holds an international conference every year. This year, as a run up to the opening of the centre in New Delhi, the key note address was delivered by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon of the Singapore Supreme Court.

Further details of NPAC are available at its website