The rules of arbitration ensure party autonomy, especially in international commercial transactions. However, the efficiency of the technique would be hampered if concurrent authority is conferred on the judiciary over arbitral proceedings. The scenario in India is notable in this aspect. The attitude of scepticism reflected in India, a developing country, towards an alternate dispute settlement mechanism such as arbitration may be attributed to its inexperience as well as its history. In India, the exercise of concurrent authority by the judiciary is evident from the judgments of Bhatia International and Venture Global. The law laid down by the Supreme Court in these judgments interprets the Arbitration and Conciliation Act in a manner contrary to the spirit of the UNCITRAL Model Law, and has received wide criticism from the global business community.
Subsequently, however, as a means of damage control, the Indian judiciary interpreted arbitration agreements giving importance to the seat of arbitration to prevent judicial intervention. The 'seat theory', which is internationally accepted in the arena of arbitration, giving the judiciary of the place of the seat of arbitration the authority to intervene and set aside arbitral awards, was accepted and adopted by the Indian legal system indirectly. However, the question remains as to the effectiveness of this attempt by the Indian judiciary in containing the effects of this position of law on the Indian economy. However, the reasoning of the Bhatia judgment was justified in its circumstances. Matters regarding interim measures and collection of evidence can be enforced effectively by the judiciary of the place of the subject matter of arbitration. With regard to these limited aspects, all judiciaries must be granted the authority over arbitral proceedings to ensure efficient enforcement of awards. Hence, necessary legislative amendments, along with support from the judiciary, are essential for India to adopt a pro-arbitration regime.Journal of International Arbitration