Author :- Barsha Samantasinghar


A mandatory arbitration agreement is a contractual provision that requires the parties to resolve any disputes through arbitration rather than through the court system. When drafting a mandatory arbitration agreement, it is important to clearly outline the terms and conditions of the arbitration process to ensure that all parties understand their rights and obligations.

The introduction of a mandatory arbitration agreement should begin by identifying the parties involved in the agreement, including their legal names and addresses. It should also clearly state the purpose of the agreement, which is to require arbitration as the exclusive method for resolving any disputes that may arise between the parties.

The introduction should also define the scope of the agreement, specifying the types of disputes that are subject to arbitration. This may include all claims arising out of or relating to the agreement, including but not limited to claims for breach of contract, tortious conduct, or statutory violations.

Furthermore, the introduction should outline the rules and procedures that will govern the arbitration process. This may include specifying the arbitration forum, such as the American Arbitration Association or JAMS, and identifying the specific rules that will apply to the arbitration.

Additionally, the introduction should address the selection of arbitrators, outlining the process for appointing a neutral third party to preside over the arbitration proceedings. It should also specify the location where the arbitration will take place and the language that will be used during the proceedings.

Moreover, the introduction should address any limitations on the remedies available through arbitration, such as whether punitive damages or injunctive relief are permitted. It should also include provisions regarding the confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings and the enforceability of the arbitration award.

Finally, the introduction should include a severability clause, which states that if any part of the agreement is found to be unenforceable, the remaining provisions will still be valid. It should also specify the governing law that will apply to the agreement and any other miscellaneous provisions that are relevant to the arbitration process.

The introduction of a mandatory arbitration agreement should provide a clear and comprehensive overview of the key terms and conditions that will govern the arbitration process, ensuring that all parties are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities.


The history of mandatory arbitration agreements in India can be traced back to the enactment of the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. This legislation was based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and aimed to provide a legal framework for the fair and efficient resolution of disputes through arbitration.

Under the Act, parties are free to agree on the process of arbitration, including the appointment of arbitrators and the procedure to be followed. Section 8 of the Act specifically recognizes the principle of party autonomy, allowing parties to refer their disputes to arbitration by way of a written agreement.

The enforceability of obligatory arbitration agreements in India has been upheld by the bar in several corner cases. The Supreme Court of India, in the case of Booz Allen and Hamilton Inc. v. SBI Home Finance Ltd., held that if the parties have agreed to resolve their controversies through arbitration, the courts should relate them to arbitration in agreement with the agreement, unless the arbitration agreement is null and void, inoperative, or  unable of being performed.

Furthermore, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015, brought significant changes to the arbitration landscape in India. It aimed to promote institutional arbitration and make India a hub for international commercial arbitration. The Amendment Act introduced provisions to expedite the arbitration process and minimize judicial intervention, thereby strengthening the enforceability of arbitration agreements.

In recent years, India has witnessed a growing trend towards the use of arbitration as a preferred method for resolving commercial disputes. The Indian government has also taken steps to promote institutional arbitration by establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre and amending the Act to provide for the establishment of the Arbitration Council of India.

The history of obligatory arbitration agreements in India reflects a progressive approach towards indispensable disagreement resolution. The legal frame, judicial precedents, and legislative reforms have inclusively contributed to the enforceability and efficacy of arbitration agreements in India, making it a seductive option for parties seeking to resolve their controversies outside the traditional court system.


The regulatory body overseeing mandatory arbitration agreements varies by country and jurisdiction. In the United States, for example, the primary regulatory body is the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which governs the enforcement and validity of arbitration agreements in contracts involving interstate commerce. The FAA provides a framework for the enforcement of arbitration agreements and the confirmation and enforcement of arbitration awards.

In addition to federal law, individual states may have their own regulations governing arbitration agreements. For instance, some states have specific statutes that address the validity and enforceability of arbitration agreements in certain types of contracts, such as employment or consumer contracts.

Internationally, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) plays a significant role in the regulation of arbitration agreements. UNCITRAL has developed the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which has been adopted by many countries as the basis for their national arbitration laws.

Furthermore, many countries have established specialized arbitration institutions or organizations that play a regulatory role in the arbitration process. These institutions often have rules and guidelines for arbitration proceedings, including those related to mandatory arbitration agreements.

In the context of specific industries, regulatory bodies may also have oversight of mandatory arbitration agreements. For example, in the financial services industry, regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States may have rules and regulations pertaining to arbitration agreements in customer-broker relationships.

Overall, the regulatory framework for mandatory arbitration agreements involves a combination of federal and state laws, international conventions and model laws, specialized arbitration institutions, and industry-specific regulatory bodies. These entities work together to ensure that arbitration agreements are fair, enforceable, and consistent with legal and ethical standards.

The regulatory body for mandatory arbitration agreements is a complex and multifaceted system that involves a combination of federal and state laws, international conventions, specialized arbitration institutions, and industry-specific regulatory bodies. These entities work together to ensure that arbitration agreements are fair, enforceable, and consistent with legal and ethical standards.


Arbitration and Conciliation Act:

Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, is a crucial provision that deals with the interim measures that can be taken by the arbitral tribunal. This section empowers the tribunal to grant interim measures for the protection of the rights of the parties involved in the arbitration proceedings.

The provision begins by stating that unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the arbitral tribunal may, at the request of a party, grant interim measures. These measures can include injunctions, the preservation, and interim custody of any property that is the subject of the dispute, and the preservation of evidence that may be relevant and material to the resolution of the dispute.

It is important to note that the tribunal’s power to grant interim measures is not unlimited. The measures must be necessary to protect the rights of the parties, and they must be such that, if not granted, the party requesting them would suffer irreparable harm. Additionally, the tribunal must consider the potential harm to the other party and the public interest before granting such measures.

Section 17 also provides that a party requesting interim measures may be required to provide appropriate security in connection with the measures. This is to ensure that the party requesting the measures does not abuse the process and to provide some form of protection to the other party.

Furthermore, the section outlines that the party requesting interim measures must make the request to the tribunal before the arbitral award is made. This is to ensure that the tribunal has the opportunity to consider and grant the measures at a time when they can still be effective in protecting the party’s rights.

In addition, the section also allows a party to request interim measures from a court. If the tribunal has not yet been constituted, or if the tribunal is unable to grant the interim measures, the party may approach a court for such relief. However, once the tribunal is constituted and has the ability to grant interim measures, the court will refrain from intervening in the matter.

The Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, plays a significant role in ensuring that parties involved in arbitration proceedings have access to effective interim measures to protect their rights. It strikes a balance between providing necessary relief to parties and safeguarding against potential abuse of the process. This provision contributes to the overall efficacy and fairness of the arbitration process in India.


Mandatory arbitration agreements have been the subject of numerous landmark cases in the legal landscape. Here are four significant cases that have shaped the law in this area:

1. AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion: This case involved a class action lawsuit against AT&T for charging sales tax on phones that were advertised as free. The Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) pre-empted state laws that deemed class-action waivers in arbitration agreements unenforceable. This decision strengthened the enforceability of mandatory arbitration agreements and limited the ability of states to invalidate them.

2. Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis: In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that employers can require employees to sign arbitration agreements waiving their rights to bring class-action lawsuits over workplace issues. The decision upheld the validity of mandatory arbitration agreements in the employment context, providing employers with the ability to limit collective legal action by employees.

3. Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v. Jackson: This case involved an arbitration agreement between an employee and his employer. The Supreme Court held that when an arbitration agreement includes a delegation clause, which delegates the authority to decide the enforceability of the arbitration agreement to the arbitrator, challenges to the agreement’s validity must be resolved by the arbitrator, not the courts. This decision clarified the scope of judicial review of arbitration agreements with delegation clauses.

4. Kindred Nursing Centers Ltd. Partnership v. Clark: The Supreme Court ruled that the FAA pre-empts state laws that single out arbitration agreements for disfavoured treatment. The case involved a dispute over the authority to sign arbitration agreements on behalf of nursing home residents. The decision reinforced the principle that state laws cannot discriminate against arbitration agreements and highlighted the pre-emptive force of the FAA.

These landmark cases have significantly influenced the legal landscape surrounding mandatory arbitration agreements, shaping the enforceability and scope of such agreements in various contexts. They have clarified the pre-emptive effect of the FAA, the enforceability of class-action waivers, the role of delegation clauses, and the limitations on state laws that disfavour arbitration agreements. As a result, these cases have had a profound impact on the use and interpretation of mandatory arbitration agreements in both consumer and employment settings.



Creating a Mandatory Arbitration Agreement in India requires careful attention to the specific legal requirements of the country.

There’s a basic structure for a Mandatory Arbitration Agreement in India:

1. Title and Parties: Begin with a title that clearly states “Mandatory Arbitration Agreement.” Then, identify the parties involved, including their full legal names and addresses.

2. Recitals: Provide a brief background explaining the intent of the agreement, such as the desire to resolve disputes through arbitration rather than litigation.

3. Agreement to Arbitrate: Clearly state that the parties agree to resolve any disputes through arbitration in accordance with the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

4. Arbitration Rules: Specify the rules that will govern the arbitration process, such as those of the Indian Council of Arbitration or the International Chamber of Commerce.

5. Arbitration Tribunal: Outline the process for appointing the arbitrator or arbitrators, including any specific qualifications or requirements.

6. Arbitration Procedure: Detail the procedural aspects of the arbitration, including the language of the arbitration, the place of arbitration, and any specific rules governing evidence and hearings.

7. Governing Law: Specify the law that will govern the arbitration agreement, typically Indian law.

8. Confidentiality: Include provisions regarding the confidentiality of the arbitration proceedings and any awards or decisions rendered.

9. Costs and Fees: Address the allocation of costs and fees associated with the arbitration process, including the arbitrator’s fees and administrative expenses.

10. Finality of Award: State that any arbitral award will be final and binding on the parties, with limited grounds for challenge under the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

11. Jurisdiction: Clarify that any disputes arising out of or in connection with the agreement will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts at the place of arbitration.

12. Signatures: Conclude with a section for the parties to sign and date the agreement, along with any witnesses or legal representatives, if required.


In conclusion, mandatory arbitration in India has been a subject of significant debate and legal scrutiny. The Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, provides a framework for arbitration and recognizes the principle of party autonomy. However, the issue of mandatory arbitration clauses in commercial contracts has raised concerns regarding the imbalance of power between parties and the potential denial of access to judicial remedies.

While mandatory arbitration clauses can offer expediency and cost-effectiveness in resolving disputes, they also raise questions about fairness and access to justice. The Indian judiciary has, in several instances, upheld the validity of mandatory arbitration clauses, emphasizing the importance of honoring the parties’ agreement to arbitrate disputes. However, the courts have also intervened in cases where there are allegations of coercion, unconscionability, or unfairness in the arbitration clause.

It is imperative for Indian courts to carefully scrutinize mandatory arbitration clauses to ensure that they do not undermine the fundamental principles of fairness, equality, and access to justice. The judiciary should continue to play a proactive role in safeguarding the rights of parties and preventing the abuse of mandatory arbitration clauses.

In light of the evolving jurisprudence and the growing awareness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, it is essential for lawmakers and legal practitioners to engage in ongoing dialogue to strike a balance between the benefits of arbitration and the protection of parties’ rights. This will contribute to the development of a robust and equitable arbitration regime in India, aligning with the broader objectives of promoting commercial certainty and facilitating efficient dispute resolution.

This conclusion is based on the current legal landscape and aims to underscore the complexities and nuances surrounding mandatory arbitration in India.





  1. Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
  2. Law of Arbitration and Conciliation by Justice S.M. Jhunjhunuwala.

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