Arbitration law stands on two plinths: party autonomy and finality of award. If these two plinths are distorted by judicial intervention, arbitration law will fail to realise its ultimate objective and will lose its essence. Indian law on arbitration has evolved from indiscriminate judicial intervention, established in the Colonial Act and the successive 1961 legislation, to a more mature Act based on the Model Law; this signifies the importance of minimal judicial interference.
Public policy, as a general concept and as a ground for setting aside an arbitral award, is difficult to define. Judicial decisions, regarding the scope of the public policy, that permit near limitless judicial review of the arbitral award serve as a lethal blow to international commercial arbitration. This article examines these repercussions and suggests some reforms to the present arbitration law to enable the pillars of arbitration law to remain intact.