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  • Payal Saini

Revolutionizing Justice: How ADR is Transforming India's Legal Landscape

Payal Saini,

Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law college, Pune

Revolutionizing Justice: How ADR is Transforming India's Legal Landscape"


Introduction India is at its peak to have a better justice delivery system with its overriding population growth in the world. The increase in population increases the chance of unrest in society. And the lack of resources can even make the situation worse, as the Indian judiciary is already overburdened with millions of pending cases in the different superior and trial courts, so the ADR mechanism can become the best alternative. ADR can become an efficient way to resolve disputes in a speedy, fast, and cost-efficient manner.

Why the need felt for ADR?

The judicial system in India is under tremendous pressure. As of May 2022, over 4.7 crore cases are pending in courts across different levels of the judiciary. Of them, 87.4% are pending in subordinate courts, 12.4% in High Courts, while nearly 1,82,000 cases have been pending for over 30 years[i]. As awareness rises among people about the essence of justice, more and more people are stepping up with the courage to fight for the rights. But the inadequate infrastructure and unavailability of judge has diminished the hope for timely and fair resolutions. 

Modern problems require modern solutions. So the problems with the courts are that they are not sufficient and efficient for this new generation’s requirements. Though litigation has given people the path to empower themselves, it fails to provide a platform for that. ADR can be elucidated as the most amicable form of dispute resolution for progress. Alternative dispute resolution has four modes of dispute resolution, i.e., arbitration, meditation, conciliation, and Lok Adalat. In the recent past, great progress has been seen with the concept of lok adalat in the justice delivery system. Lok adalat is called “people’s courts, which comprises an informal setting that facilitates negotiations in the presence of a judicial officer, wherein cases are dispensed without undue emphasis on legal technicalities. 

It is also observed that in this era of the industrious generation, people are getting comfortable with terms like “settlements and negotiations." People’s perspectives are changing from “I win, you lose” to a “win-win attitude,” as this will help them achieve quick and creative solutions with improved relationships. They understand the implications of ADR as the better way for dispute resolution. 

Efforts to ADR

Though at a small pace, India has shown its efforts to adopt ADR as a method to solve conflict in the recent past. We also had a law for ADR, i.e., the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. And the Arbitration Act has been amended three times in six years to go with the changing environment so that it can be proved more effective. 

With the growing pace of globalization and advancement in technology, disputes have become an inalienable part of the scenario, and because of this,  ADR is the debate for the world. For this,  a convention has been prepared by Singapore, the UN commission on International Trade Law, and other members, i.e., “united nation convention on international settlement agreements resulting from meditation”, also known as THE SINGAPORE CONVENTION on 20th December, 2018.[ii] India has also signed this convention, along with 45 other countries. This convention applies to international commercial settlement agreements resulting from meditation.

Challenges to ADR

The biggest challenge for India regarding justice is going with this statement, “Justice delayed is justice denied,"  as courts haven’t proved themselves with this because the traditional method of litigation is very time-consuming and ADR can be a very alternative for this.

But ADR itself has many challenges.

•With the moto of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, India is lacking in giving proper education and training to the negotiator, as companies still prefer international arbitrator to settle the disputes.

•India is lacking in having a authorized, reputed nation institution or arbitration centers.

•Due to lack of proper understanding and awareness, ADR techniques are mostly used in commercial disputes. It can also be used to settle non commercial disputes (family matters, rent matters, land matters etc).

•India is lacking behind in having a good, knowledgably, and high profiled arbitrator.

•Technology can also be a concern for online dispute resolution, as at the time of COVID, we saw the success of virtual hearing.

Views of Justice DY Chandrachud

At one of the online dispute resolution (ODR) events it hosted, Honorary Judge Chandrachud highlighted the significant impact that online hearings had on the judicial system during the past year's virtual hearings. These hearings made the process more efficient through several simple changes, such as the use of digital files by all parties, the ability to take digital notes, and the capability to keep all files in one place.

Speaking at the event titled "The Future of Mediation in India" at ILS Law College Pune, Justice Chandrachud also inaugurated the ILS Center for Arbitration and Mediation.  He remarked “we are all aware that courts and courtrooms in India are crowded, both physically and metaphorically.

In view of pendency of numbers, dispute resolution mechanisms like mediation are an important tool that goes about in non adversarial manner”[iii]

Praising the cause of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method, he stated, "The future of mediation in India lies in its ability to impact social change. In my view, mediation is a tool for social change, brought in consonance with constitutional values and the flow of information."


People will find it difficult to switch from traditional patterns of litigation to alternative ways of dispute resolution. But with the time of guaranteed resolution and with the process of awareness, people will trust the ADR mechanism for dispute resolution. It also involves less formality and is less combative. And the good thing is that nowadays courts themselves suggest the parties go for negotiation and out-of-court settlements if possible in that case. This will give them a good amount of motivation and satisfaction to opt for the method of ADR.


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