The Indian Arbitration Forum has appealed to the Arbitral Tribunals to avoid arbitral proceedings and allow requests for adjournments in the next 8 weeks as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Novel COVID-19.
Any urgent hearing, the IAF has suggested, may be conducted via video-conferencing, to avoid health risk to all the stakeholders.
"As you are aware, experts across the world have advised to reduce gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID 19 Novel Coronavirus. Given the current Situation and great health risk it is best to avoid all public places and gathering…
On behalf of Indian Arbitration Forum, we appeal to all the Arbitral Tribunals to kindly consider any request for adjournment from either of the parties for an oral hearing scheduled in the next 8 weeks from today to minimize the risk of viral transmission…
In case the hearing is urgent, it is suggested that the same may be conducted via video conferencing so that there is no risk to the health of the parties, counsels or Ld. Arbitrators," the advisory issued by the IAF states.
In their appeal, the forum also makes mention of the travel advisory issued by the Health Ministry yesterday, suspending visas issued to nationals of other countries till April 15, 2020.
In this backdrop it stated, "In any case, in international arbitrations seated in India the Ld. Arbitrators from foreign countries as well as foreign parties may not be able to travel in view of the advisory issued by the Government of India whereby all visas have been cancelled."
The forum has also appealed to the Supreme Court and the High Courts in the country to "take a lenient view" while dealing with applications under Section 29A of the Arbitration Act, 1996 for extending the time for delivering the Arbitral Award, wherever necessary.