Author: Adeeba Akhlaq, Student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Confidentiality clause existed as a principle for a long period of time before it was introduced as a regulation under Section 42A of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act of 2019 owing to the recommendations of the high-level committee headed by B.N. Srikrishnan. One of the most important reasons why parties select arbitration to settle their disputes is that they do not want their disagreements to become a matter of public discussion. Given the extensive papers and information that parties exchange throughout an arbitration, the goal is to preserve sensitive information, intellectual property and trade secrets that may be the topic of an arbitration because their revelation could result in irreparable harm. Therefore, arbitration proceedings are kept confidential for the aforementioned reasons. This article explores the practicality of confidentiality clause in arbitrary proceedings and throws light on Section 42A of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act of 2019. It also takes in consideration the recent Amazon-Future dispute over the confidentiality clause to highlight the implications if the confidentiality clause is breached by one of the parties. Moreover, it also discuses the plethora of concerns regarding the implementation of confidentiality clause with the help of landmark judgements. Additionally, the article also elaborates the measures for implementation of the confidentiality clause, discusses the importance of uniformity in rule of confidentiality and the inability of international organizations to implement a uniform rule.