Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in India is not new and it was in existence even under the previous Arbitration Act, 1940. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 has been enacted to accommodate the harmonisation mandates of UNCITRAL Model.
To streamline the Indian legal system the traditional civil law known as Code of Civil Procedure, (CPC) 1908 has also been amended and section 89 has been introduced. Section 89 (1) of CPC provides an option for the settlement of disputes outside the court. It provides that where it appears to the court that there exist elements, which may be acceptable to the parties, the court may formulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for arbitration, conciliation, mediation or judicial settlement.
Some bold steps have also been undertaken in India to utilise the benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for ADR purposes. For instance, Perry4Law has been providing online dispute resolution (ODR) services in India to resolve disputes out of the court.
These ODR services are unique as they also cater the needs of techno-legal segment besides the traditional litigation requirements.
India is presently greatly overburdened by the backlog of cases in the courts. If the Indian courts have to function properly, they have to actively use ADR and ODR for out of court dispute resolutions.
Further, India has to take care of International commercial arbitration and commercial disputes as well. ADR and ODR seem to be a viable solution for the problem of backlog of cases in India.