This Article is written by Sreekha S Kammath and Rinal Rose Pauly students of CSI College For Legal Studies Kanakkary, Kottayam, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam
Alternative dispute Resolution is a legal system to resolve disputes outside the court. ADR deals with cases like contract, family, public disputes etc. ADR reduces the burden of courts. it is time saver and a simple method. Virtual ADR is a dispute resolution through online technology to conduct the resolution of dispute between persons. The aim of this article is to find the answer of following questions, what is virtual ADR?. Impact of covid-19 in ADR? , and other related questions and their answers.
Virtual ADR is a dispute resolution that uses online technology to conduct the resolution of disputes between parties. In other words, the virtual ADR is a recent revolution for settling a dispute through virtual interaction. It is especially used in petty cases. Virtual ADR is also known as online dispute resolution (ODR). Now, ODR is considered as the future of dispute resolution. Virtual ADR Methodologies could be a useful tool in expediting justice within the time frame. There are also some limitations for virtual ADR technologies, but it is useful in the covid-19 situations. ODR is helpful for several people, but many do not get the benefit of it. ODR is a time, money saver and it reduces physical and mental discomforts from courtrooms. ODR reduces the number of travel hardships to parties and arbitrators. Parties in arbitration can convey their thoughts to each other through video conferences and mediators can easily communicate with the parties separately. It helps to reduces caseloads of the Judiciary. ODR settles e-disputes as well as general disputes. For example, The Contractual performance, Privacy Concern Disputes, Defamation, Banking etc. ODR includes various methods of dispute resolution like arbitration, e-mediation, e-conciliation. Recently, there was a call for advancing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India by NITI Aayog, in association with Agami and Omidyar Network.
Let’s see what the advantages of Virtual ADR are, reducing the pendency of cases also reduces the pressure on the Judiciary. It gives an accessible, transparent and faster option, especially for companies dealing with high volume and low volume online transactions. The right time for ODR for being a mechanism for grievance redressal as more India is doing online transactions. There are also disadvantages for virtual ADR such as the difficulty of enforcement of online awards, digital illiteracy, procedural issues and privacy and data security issues.
The virtual ADR especially, mediation and arbitration, are conducted through the popular online platform ‘zoom’. In the process of ODR, you will receive an invitation to a zoom video conference. That will include links and pass code; the parties can join it by using the link or code. During the mediation, you may also communicate with your client. Conversation in that room will be limited to invitees only.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN ADR
In 2020 nearly all nations are undergoing health, social and economic hardships. It is significant to examine the impact of covid-19 in the judicial system. It hardly delivers justice and provides legal services to citizens. Due to widespread of covid-19 and lockdown, almost all courtrooms switched to online proceedings. But all aggrieved people can’t approach the court due to present circumstances; it’s the right time to address the importance of ADR.
Covid-19 resulted in damage to the world economy and disruptions cooperative relationships. This lead to raising of commercial disputes as parties are struggling to fulfil their contractual obligations. There is a possibility to create enormous litigation, hence delaying the resolution of pending court cases. This paved the way towards virtual ADR. ADR Methodologies could be a useful tool expediting justice with the time frame. ADR resolution enables to provide timely justice with the mode of operation, make virtualization more feasible at this time.
NITI Aayog to launch an Online Dispute Resolution handbook in India on 10 April 2020. It is the initial of its kind handbook ORD. Supreme Court Judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud launched the handbook. According to the release of NITI Aayog, ‘The handbook will be an invitation to business leaders to adopt ODR in India. It highlights the needs for such a mechanism, the models for ODR that businesses can adopt and an actionable’.
NITI Aayog is associated with Agami and Omidyar Network in India and is supported by ICICI Bank, Ashok innovators for the Public, Trilegal, Dalberg, Dvara, NIPFP. “While the court is all becoming digitised through the efforts of the judiciary more effective, scalable and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution are urgently needed. ODR can help, resolve disputes effectively and affordable”, NITI Aayog said.
AMENDMENT OF 2021
One of the recent legislative changes in the arbitration and conciliation Act, 1996 is Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2021. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 4th February 42021. In March 2012, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2021 was authorized by parliament and came into effect on 4th November 2021. The Amendment replaced the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 promulgated by the President of India on 4th November 2021.
Amendment of section 36 :- The Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996( here in after referred to as the principal Act), in section 36, in sub section (3), after the proviso, the following shall be inserted and shall be deemed to have been inserted with the effect from 23rd day of October 2015. Namely:
Provided further that where the court is satisfied a prima facie case is made out that, Arbitration agreement or contract which is the basis of the award; or The making of the award was induced or affected by fraud and corruption shall stay the award unconditionally, pending disposal of the challenge under section 34 to award. Substitution of new section for section 43J. For section 43J of the principal Act, the following section shall be substituted namely;
“Section 43J- The qualification, experience and norms for accreditation shall be such as may be specified by the regulation”. And the eight schedule of the principal Act shall be omitted.
YOUNG LAWYER ARE ASSET OF ARBITRATION
Supreme Court on 27 August 2021, stated that it may be in the interest of Alternative dispute resolution if young advocates are appointed as arbitrators. The bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah was hearing the case M/S Supreme Cylinders Ltd v. Anurag Deepak & Anr. Justice Chandrachud said that the Bombay High Court devised an innovative way for speedy completion of arbitration proceedings by appointing young competent and knowledgeable lawyers as arbitrators. “The Bombay High Court has started appointing young lawyers as arbitrators, who take it honour to be chosen for the assignment by the High Court. They conduct the arbitration proceedings smoothly and often charge meagre fees” the Supreme Court said.
Alternative Dispute Resolution is a developing mechanism in India. ADR is also provided by the government department to promote early access to justice and free legal aid. So economically, socially vulnerable groups in society can access justice. There we can achieve equal access to justice inexpensively, speedy and informal.
2. VIA Meditation Centre
3. Legal Services India
4. The Economic Times
6. M/S Supreme Cylinders Ltd v. Anurag Deepak & Anr.