Q. With examples, discuss the significance of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in light of costly and time-consuming litigation process in India.
Litigation process in India is currently marred by high cost and time delays due to various reasons like poor judge to population ratio which is further aggravated on account of unfilled vacancies in courts, several unavoidable reasons and procedure for delay like multiple rounds of appeals and revision, dependency on lawyers due to complex techniques of a court of law and high fees charged by lawyers and courts.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provides an alternative approach to traditional process of dispute resolution through litigation. It provides accessible, useful, informal, voluntary, speedy and inexpensive justice to contesting parties. ADR mechanisms in India inter-alia include arbitration, mediation/ conciliation, Lok Adalats and Consumer Dispute Redressal system.
Significance of ADR mechanisms
- It facilitates speedier justice and the parties involved have control over the eventual outcome. This results in quick implementation of the decisions taken.
- Mediation can play a very useful role in amicable resolution of matrimonial and family matters.
- Most ADR processes are based on integrative approach. They are more corporative and less competitive than the usual method of litigation.
- It makes justice more accessible through counseling or arbitration centers.
- The proceedings in ADR are informal and do not involve the formalities and complexities as involved in a Court of law like hiring a lawyer.
- Disputes amongst the government departments and agencies can be best resolved through out of court mediation rather than litigation.
- It can be used any time, even when a case is pending before a court of law.
- ADR is often less stressful than expensive and lengthy process of litigation; most people have reported high degree of satisfaction with ADR.
- As pointed out by Malimath Committee, ADR plays an important role in doing away with delays and congestions in court proceedings.
ADR mechanisms are being incorporated in developing countries in order to strengthen the judicial system. Adoption and popularizing ADR in India is a major step for achieving the much cherished goal of achieving justice for all in India.