There are many innovative techniques that are making their way through one of the busiest judicial systems in the world in India due to the increasing stress on the country’s current judicial system, litigation structure, and procedural or traditional means of handling disputes and matters before the court. The largest democracy in the world’s justice delivery system has been plagued by the steadily rising number of pending PILs, terrifying stacks of them, and protracted arguments. The accountability and effectiveness of the Indian judicial system and its constituent parts have been the subject of intense discussion and criticism. A few months ago, the nation observed National Legal Services Day, paving the way for it to provide itself with additional and alternative ways to solve this issue, one of which is alternative dispute resolution.
The purpose of National Legal Services Day, which is observed on November 9th, is to raise awareness of the need to provide all citizens with fair and reasonable legal processes. Promoting the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms to resolve conflicts is one of the goals of Legal Services Authorities. ADR is a non-adversarial method of resolving disputes that involves working cooperatively to find the best solution for everyone. ADR can play a significant role in lessening the load of litigation on the courts while providing a comprehensive and rewarding experience for the parties. Through innovative, cooperative negotiating, it offers the chance to “grow the pie” and satisfy the motives underlying their requests.
NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The overwhelming backlog of court cases in India has put a great deal of strain on the justice system. In India, the quantity of court cases has skyrocketed recently, causing backlogs and delays and emphasising the demand for ADR techniques.
ADR enables the amicable resolution of disagreements. It is a wise strategy in business to have a competitor rather than a rival. It is obvious that strong competition leads to advancement and affects the price of goods and services across the board. ADR enables trials to be concluded quickly. There is no possibility of an adjournment or stay order in ADR, unlike the litigation procedure. In contrast to the litigation procedure, where significant costs are expended to pay the attorneys and other trial participants, in ADR only a minimal sum of money is needed.
TYPES OF ADR
According to broad classification, there are four types of ADR:
Arbitration: The case is taken before an arbitral tribunal, which renders a decision (an “award”) that is largely enforceable against the parties. Compared to a trial, it is less formal, and the rules of evidence are frequently loosened. Generally speaking, an arbitrator’s ruling cannot be challenged. There is relatively limited room for judicial intervention in the arbitration process, save from a few temporary measures.
Conciliation: A non-binding process where a conciliator, a neutral third party, helps the parties to a dispute come to a mutually satisfactory resolution. A less formal variation of arbitration is conciliation. The proposals of the conciliator are open for acceptance or rejection by the parties.
Mediation: In mediation, a neutral third party known as a “mediator” works with the parties to attempt and find a settlement that is agreeable to both sides. While assisting the parties in communicating so they can try to resolve the conflict themselves, the mediator does not make a decision. The parties retain authority over the result of the mediation.
Negotiation: A non-binding process whereby talks between the parties are started without the involvement of a third party with the goal of reaching a negotiated resolution to the conflict It is the most typical alternative dispute resolution technique. Negotiation happens in business, non-profit organisations, governmental bodies, courtrooms, legal disputes between nations, and in private issues like marriage, divorce, parenthood, and daily life..
ADR has been effective in reducing the backlog of cases at various levels of the judiciary; in the previous three years, Lok Adalats alone have resolved more than 50 lakh cases annually on average. But it appears that people are unaware that these techniques are available. More information on these should be made available by the National and State Legal Services Authorities so that potential litigants will consider them as their first course of action.
ICT developments and novel ideas are at the heart of the future of conflict resolution, which will make it efficient and accessible to all parts of society. The use of ADR has the potential to decentralise dispute resolution in India and provide creatives from all walks of life the opportunity to create specialised ADR processes for swift dispute resolution.
Author’s Name: Abhijeet Raj (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi)
Drishti IAS, ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution’ (14 January 2023) <https://www.drishtiias.com/pdf/alternative-dispute-resolution-adr-mechanisms-paper-2.pdf > accessed 14 January 2023