Brief Background: DigiSahamati is fostering the establishment and development of the Sahamati Account Aggregator Ecosystem (Sahamati AA Ecosystem) and facilitates interoperability and related standards for AAs, FIPs and FIUs, manages the Sahamati AA Ecosystem and enforces compliance with Sahamati AA Ecosystem Participation Terms (Terms). Such Terms contemplate Grievance Redressal and Dispute Resolution process taking place as specified in Clause 14 of such Terms, which have been extracted for ready reference in Annex A appended hereto.

Sahamati, in accordance with the Terms, is desirous of empaneling ODR Institutions and invites application for empanelment, enclosing the details as specified:

  1. The ODR institution shall provide the details of its formation including copies of registration certificate, PAN, Legal Entity Identifier number, composition of its governing bodies and advisory councils, if any, and details of its shareholders and investors, and list of its authorized officials / signatories. Changes if any to any of these shall require being notified to Sahamati promptly, and it reserves the right to drop an ODR Institution from its panel, if there is a delay in notifying or if the changes are viewed by Sahamati as not conducive to continuance of the ODR institution on the panel. It may also furnish any other credentials that it deems relevant to the application process.
  2. The ODR institution shall furnish a copy of its rules for conciliation and a copy of its rules for arbitration. Such rules should be in adherence to the process contemplated in the Terms (see Annex A). Changes, if any, to such Rules shall require being notified to Sahamati promptly, and it reserves the right to drop an ODR Institution from its panel, if there is a delay in notifying or if the changes are viewed by Sahamati as not conducive to continuance of the ODR institution on the panel. 
  3. Such Rules should contemplate time-bound conciliation process and time-bound arbitration process, each of which should not exceed 30 days in being concluded from the date of reference of the matter to the ODR institution.
  4. Such Rules should provide the Customer with a choice to opt out of the conciliation process and to proceed directly to arbitration. In the event the Customer desires to obtain interim relief, the Rules should permit the filing of an application for grant of such interim reliefs prior to or during the conciliation.
  5. The ODR institution affirms that it, its partners, management team, board, advisors or shareholders or any of the conciliators or arbitrators empaneled with it are not a Related Party of any of the Participants in the Sahamati AA Ecosystem or of Sahamati at the time of its application for empanelment and undertakes that it shall ensure that none of them will be Related Party of any of the Participants or of Sahamati on an ongoing basis during the term of its empanelment.

For the purposes of this paragraph, ‘Related Party’ means a person or entity that is related to a Participant or Sahamati.

A person is related to a Participant or Sahamati if that person or close family member:

  • Has control or joint control over the partners, management team, board, advisors or shareholders of a Participant of Sahamati.
  • Has significant influence over the the partners, management team, board, advisors or shareholders of a Participant of Sahamati.
  • Is a member or a key personnel of the partners, management team, board, advisors or shareholders of a Participant of Sahamati.

A close family member includes a person’s children, spouse or domestic partner, brother, sister, father and mother, children of that person’s spouse or domestic partner and dependents of that person’s or person’s spouse or domestic partner.

  1. The ODR institution shall furnish to Sahamati the unique count of conciliators and arbitrators, along with the following details:
  1. The education, training and professional qualifications of the conciliator/ arbitrator
  2. Number of years of experience as a conciliator/arbitrator
  3. Previous experience in conciliation / arbitration, including sectoral experience, subject to obligations of confidentiality applicable to the neutral

Such data and details shall be updated every quarter or such other or further period as Sahamati may specify. 

  1. The ODR institution should have a stated process which it follows for allocation of matters referred to the conciliators and arbitrators, such that there is no undue concentration of allocation. In allocating a dispute to conciliators and arbitrators, the ODR institution will ensure the independence and impartiality of the conciliators and arbitrators. The stated process note of matters specified here shall be furnished to Sahamati. 
  2. Any complaint received against a conciliator or arbitrator shall be promptly examined, due and appropriate actions taken and the findings/conclusions/actions taken will be reported back to Sahamati. The stated process note of matters specified here shall be furnished to Sahamati. 
  3. Each ODR institution shall abide by the following norms for furthering transparency and evolving precedents:
  • Publish at quarterly or half yearly intervals, data regarding references received, count of disposal of such references through conciliation, and count of disposal of references through arbitration (indicating to the extent feasible, decisions in favor of customers and in favor of participants), which will be available freely to the Sahamati AA Ecosystem Participants or customers in such form, manner and mode as Sahamati may specify 
  • Publish decisions of the arbitrators, redacted or masked to ensure identity of the parties is not ascertainable, to help develop a database of matters and decisions, which will be available freely to the Sahamati AA Ecosystem Participants or customers and any other ODR institution empaneled by Sahamati in such form, manner and mode as Sahamati may specify.
  1. The period of empanelment of an ODR institution shall be 24 months from the date of commencement of empanelment. The ODR institution shall be entitled to reapply for empanelment at least four (4) months before the expiry of the empanelment period. In the event an ODR institution  does not reapply, no new references will be made in the last two months of the empanelment and the ODR institution shall endeavour to dispose of all pending references prior to end of the empanelment.
  2. The charges for the conciliation and/or arbitration services of the ODR institution shall be borne by Sahamati, and accordingly, the ODR institutions agrees to abide by the uniform pricing fixed by Sahamati for a matter (which shall be inclusive of all fees, costs, charges, expenses of the ODR institution and of the  conciliator and arbitrator). The ODR institution can express to Sahamati its suggestion for the all-in pricing for due consideration by Sahamati along with its empanelment application. Upon being notified of the uniform pricing specified by Sahamati, the ODR institution may  withdraw its application for empanelment. 
  3. Whenever a matter arises for Grievance Redressal, the customer shall have a choice to refer the matter to any one of the empaneled ODR institutions, for both  conciliation, and arbitration as applicable. The Participant/s shall abide by such choice. 
  4. Whenever a matter arises for Dispute Resolution, the defending Participant/s shall refer the matter to any one of the empaneled ODR institutions, for both  conciliation, and arbitration as applicable. If there are more than one defending Participant, then they shall select the ODR institution by a draw of lots from among their respective choice. The Participant initiating the dispute shall abide by such choice. 
  5. In the unlikely situation of Sahamati being a party to a grievance or a dispute, it agrees to abide by the choice of ODR institution as outlined above. 
  6. Sahamati shall have a right to inspect and/or audit the ODR institution directly or through such person or firm that it may appoint, for, inter alia, verifying the adherence to these norms. 
  7. The ODR institution shall furnish an irrevocable, unconditional undertaking that it shall abide by the norms of empanelment specified, and such norms as may be notified by Sahamati from time to time. If such norms are not acceptable to the ODR institution, it may seek to be removed from the Sahamati panel after disposal of all pending references. No new references will be made after the receipt of its notice to such effect. 
  8. The ODR institutions empanelled by Sahamati acknowledge that the Grievance Redressal and Dispute Resolution mechanisms have been set up by Sahamati as a part of its institutional framework to collectivise Account Aggregators ecosystem, set goals and standards for the ecosystem, and to provide robust dispute resolution processes for the customers and the Participants, should disputes arise among them. In the event of a breach of any of these conditions by the ODR institution, or upon a complaint against any of the panel of conciliators or arbitrators of the ODR institution, Sahmati may terminate the empanelment of the ODR institution, without prejudice to its rights to take any further action against the ODR institution or the concerned neutral.

Annex A

14. Grievance Redressal & Dispute Resolution 

Grievance Redressal

14.1 Customer complaints, claims, disputes or grievances (together termed ‘grievance/s’) involving factual matters capable of being ascertained as fully or partially valid (or not) in an automated mode or manner by checking the relevant records of the concerned Participant/s, shall be so ascertained, and the accepting or rejecting such grievance/s (fully or partially) shall be duly notified to the claimant or the aggrieved person on so being ascertained. Where the grievance/s has been accepted as fully or partially valid, the Participant will undertake due measures to redress the grievance or make payment of the specified compensation to the claimant or the aggrieved person. Sahamati shall identify and notify from time to time the types of grievance/s which shall be attended to in this manner, and the appropriate amount, level or range compensation that shall be payable by the relevant Participant when a grievance/s has been ascertained to be fully or partially valid.

14.2 Customer grievances that are unresolved by the automated mode specified in 14.1, or if the Customer is not satisfied with the resolution provided through the automated mode specified in 14.1, or which arise before the automated mode becomes effective for specified types of grievances as envisaged in 14.1, shall be addressed in the following manner and sequence:

(a) by placing the grievance for redress by the Grievance Redressal Officer of the Participant, as applicable, and/or the Internal Ombudsman of the Participant (if any), whose determination will be binding on the Participant.

(b) If the Customer is not satisfied by the determination made by the Grievance Redressal Officer or the Internal Ombudsman of the Participant, as applicable, and subject to the applicability of the respective Ombudsman Scheme specified by a Financial Sector Regulator governing the Participant, or appeal process, if any specified in Applicable Laws to deal with the matter, the grievance or appeal in relation to the determination shall be referred to an ODR Institution, empaneled by Sahamati from time to time, which shall facilitate online mediation or online conciliation.

The ODR Institution shall accordingly appoint a mediator or a conciliator, in accordance with its mediation or conciliation rules and the process shall be administered in accordance with such mediation or conciliation rules.

If such mediation or conciliation is unsuccessful in resolving the grievance as well as if the Customer is not satisfied with the determination made in terms of the Ombudsman Scheme or the appeal process as laid down, if applicable, then the grievance or appeal in relation to the determination shall be referred to an ODR Institution, empaneled by Sahamati from time to time, which shall appoint an independent sole arbitrator, in accordance with its arbitration rules to adjudicate the grievance.

The grievance shall be resolved by means of arbitration in terms of the applicable rules of the ODR Institution, and in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Such a process shall be conducted (including for recording of evidence or tendering of documents), concluded and administered online by the ODR Institution through its website/platform or its mobile application, and the determination made by such process shall be binding on such Customer and the Participant. The seat of arbitration proceedings shall be city and state where Sahamati is headquartered. The procedural law of arbitration shall be the rules of the ODR Institution.

Sahamati will also explore the possibility of creating APIs for ease of reference of grievances to ODR Institutions as envisaged in this section.

Dispute Resolution

14.3 Any complaints, claims, disputes or grievances (together termed ‘dispute’) arising out of or in connection with these Terms between two or more Participants shall be referred to an ODR Institution, empaneled by Sahamati from time to time, which shall facilitate online mediation or online conciliation. The ODR Institution shall accordingly appoint a mediator or a conciliator, appointed in accordance with the applicable mediation or conciliation rules of the ODR Institution for such dispute. The process shall be administered in accordance with the applicable mediation or conciliation rules of the ODR Institution.

If such mediation or conciliation is unsuccessful in resolving the dispute, then the ODR Institution shall appoint an independent sole arbitrator, in accordance with the applicable arbitration rules of the ODR Institution, to adjudicate the dispute.

The dispute shall be resolved by means of arbitration in terms of the applicable rules of the ODR Institution, and in accordance with the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Such a process shall be conducted (including for recording of evidence or tendering of documents), concluded and administered online by the ODR Institution through its website/platform or its mobile application, and the determination made by such process shall be binding on such Participants. The seat of arbitration proceedings shall be the city and state where Sahamati is headquartered. The procedural law of arbitration shall be the rules of the ODR Institution.