Alternate dispute resolution refers to any method of resolving disputes without litigation , outside the courtroom . It is a system of dispute resolutions between parties who agree to resolve their disputes without the interference of court for the deliverance of justice(1). The system of ADR has evolved through various stages , it existed in our society and was used by its people since ancient times . The roots of ADR can be traced back to panchayat system in villages . They can be accounted for the origin of ADR as in panchayt system the few selected people listen to both parties and try to formulate a agreement between them . So this can be seen as the basis idea behind the concept of ADR .
The ADR system offers various advantages and is a feasible system of delivering justice . It is more flexible than the courts in terms of procedures and provides speedy justice and as a result of the speedy justice expenses of the aggrieved parties are reduced . ADR system also provides with the choice of choosing their own arbitrator or mediator resulting in the elimination of any turf over biasness. So due to various such reasons ADR system is preferred by people to resolve their disputes as it also tries to preserves the relationships between parties as it is seen that when a court case is in process the relationship between parties turn sour but in ADR this is also not the case In most of the times. So now the reason for increasing utility and popularity of Alternate dispute resolution mechanism by the people is evident . This mechanism of ADR is capable of providing substitute to the conventional methods of resolving disputes. ADR offers to resolve all type of matters including civil, commercial, industrial and family etc.
The foundation of ADR is built on article 14 and 21(2) which deals with equality before law and right to personal liberty. The purpose of ADR is to provide socio-economic and political justice and to maintain dignity within the culture enshrined in the preamble. ADR also aims to promote equality of justice and free legal assistance offered under Article 39-A on the State Policy Principle (DPSP) Directive. Also it is important to deal with the situation of pendency of cases in courts which is a proving to be a great hindrance in the path of justice to every needy individual. Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 provides the opportunity for the citizens if elements of settlement outside the court appear to occur, then the court formulates the terms of the proposed settlement and refers the same for: Arbitration , Conciliation, Mediation or Lok Adalat. Other provisions related to ADR are the the Acts which deals with Alternative Dispute Resolution are Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and, The Legal Services Authority Act, 1987(3).
In spite of all the benefits and associated with the ADR mechanism , the arbitration technique is still not practiced in India , people turn towards traditional means of justice for their matters .
One of the major reasons for this is the lack of wide reach of ADR system , so to solve this problem and to make the mechanism of ADR more accessible and feasible to the common public the mechanism of Online Dispute Resolution is developed . Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) has been described as using information technology to settle disputes instead. ODR is a form of conflict resolution, whether by conciliation or arbitration, which includes the use of electronic technology to promote dispute resolution between parties. ODR 's knowledge management and collaboration methods may be available to all or part of the proceedings . India has incorporated uniform principles of alternative dispute resolution in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 that was amended in the year 2015. The Arbitration Act provides for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms like arbitration, conciliations etc for national and international stakeholders. Measures have been taken by the Ministry of Law and Justice to introduce Online Dispute Resolution through mediation, arbitration, and conciliation(4).
The tech revolution has managed to reach into the lives of people and the ODR is an example of it and it aims at making people lives easier and in order to reduce the everyday hardships of securing justice and to share the burden of courts this mechanism can be of utmost importance and can be the future of Indian judicial system , but still it has a long way to go before it can be beneficial and every citizen is benefited form the same.
1 https://lawshelf.com/shortvideoscontentview/introduction-to-alternative-dispute- resolution/#:~:text=Alternative%20Dispute%20Resolution%20(ADR)%20refers,glamorous%20portrayal%20of%20 jury%20trials..
Author- Aeshna Raghuwanshi, Content writer , Legal Eagle.