An Ushered Solution

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By M.C. Linthoingambee

“The courts should not be the places where resolution of disputes begins. They should be the places where the disputes end after alternative methods of resolving disputes have been considered and tried.”

~ Sandra Day O’Connor (First woman to serve on the US Supreme Court)

All of us live in conflict zones. It is when we lessen the disputed ideologies and resort to an understanding that we may start to function in a resolved conflict space. Solutions are the results of problems. Ignorance is one of the greatest  impediments  that  herald  a  nation  or  a  society  so  instead  of running away, an answer is best served through a question. It’s a lawyers job to help and make sure that the solved puzzles are delivered on to our doorway even though it is impossible to find answers  to  all  those  known  stories  or  yet  unknown.  Dispute  resolution  is  one  of  the  major functions  of  a  stable  society.  In  the  hope  of  restoring  the  Gandhi  way  of  life,  the prospect  of restoring peace as a whole is to be viewed in a much larger image. Therefore, the state has also helped  the  above  cause  by  setting  up  institutions  and  norms  to  back  and  govern  the  above contentment.

The  great  number  of  piled  up  cases  in  the  Indian  courts  pending  disposal  of  justice  gives into  light  to  the  introduction  of  the  Alternate  Dispute  Resolution  (ADR).  ADR  or  external dispute  resolution  includes  the  solving  of  disputes  from  processes  and  techniques  in  the hope  of  comforting  the  disagreeing  parties  of  a  case  to  come  into  a  common  agreement. Despite  all  the  resistance  towards  this  system  in  the  past,  it  is  gaining  popularity  in  the modern  gateway. ADR  is  generally  classified  into  at  least  four types: negotiation, mediation, collaborative  law,  and arbitration  and  more  in  addition  from time  to  time. Comparatively  to  the  other  forms  of  litigation  ADR  is  less  costly,  suitable  for multiple party disputes, complexity is lesser, most importantly it also helps preserve the previous relationships and it has more going promoting its due significance.

There is an  International Centre  for Alternate Dispute Resolution  (ICADR)  proclaimed widely promoting  the  cause  of  self  righteousness  as  the  Government  of  India  felt  the  necessity  to take the step to provide an autonomous body,  ICADR also exists in our country. In the legally attributed  records,  Alternative  Dispute  Resolution  in  India  was  founded  on  the  Constitutional  basis  of  Articles  14  and  21  enshrined  in  part  III  of  the  constitution  of  India  which  grant  the important  Fundamental  Rights  of  Equality  before  Law  and  Right  to  life  and  personal  liberty respectively  to  all  the  citizens.  ADR  in  India  also  tries  to  achieve  the  Directive  Principle  of State  Policy  relating to  Equal justice  and  Free  Legal  Aid  as laid  down  under  Article  39-A  of the Constitution. The Acts, which  deal with Alternative Dispute Resolution are Arbitration and Conciliation  Act,  1996  and  the  Legal  Services  Authorities  Act,  1987.  Section  89  of  the  Civil Procedure Code, 1908 makes it possible for Arbitration proceedings to take place in accordance with the  Acts  stated  above.  Also  arbitration in  India is modeled  on the  UNCITRAL model  of arbitration.

Justice  delayed  is  justice  denied.  Today, categorizing  over  the  restricted  and  untimely  delay of  ‘access to justice’, we  have  seen  people  resort to the  actions  of  crowding  over  strikes,  road blocks,  and  other  modes  of  disobedience, this  situation  has  not  arisen  over  night,  rather it’s  a social development that has taken place slowly, day by day. The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has also been amended from  time  to  time  to  endorse  use  of  ADR  methods.  In  promoting  ADR  new  methodologies to  the  same  has  further  rose  up  with  the  introduction  of  Mini-Trial,  Consumer  Forums,  Lok Adalats  and  Banking  Ombudsman,  etc  and  they  have  also  been  accepted  and  recognized  as effective  Alternative  dispute  resolution  methodologies.  Though  the  issue  of  access  to  justice could be well addressed by way of changes in the existing structure, social harmony is something beyond the  perception  of litigation.  It  does  not  rule  out the  possibility  of  creating  alternatives that can  fabricate a  structure with accessibility. The attempts to  find answers  for the  problems existing in the present day legal system could be categorized into two: 1) revivalist- attempting to  traditionalize  the  system  2)  approach  of  fusion  –  wherein  creative  syntheses  of  Indian  and  Western methodologies are sought.

Despite  many  advantages  of  using  Alternative  dispute  resolution  mechanisms,  our  society has  been  reluctant  to  give  it  its  due  recognition.  Alternative  dispute  resolution  encompasses a  range  of  means  to  resolve  conflicts  short  of  formal  litigation.  Mouthing  on  the  statements of  a  few  great men,  John  F.  Kennedy  said in this  respect:  “Let  us  never  negotiate  out  of  fear but  let  us  never  fear  to  negotiate.”  As  scientists  create  and  conducts studies  towards new  findings,  the  art  of legal  development  of the  solving  of  disputes in an alternate  regime  helps  benefit the  reduction of  a  trauma,  legal  cost,  mental  disturbance  from  being  compelled  to  enter  into  a  litigation (the  fighting  for  the  settlement  of  case  in  the  open  court)  instead  of  privately  arriving  into  a settlement and lowering the general expenses. It is time to open ourselves to open the door of a greater change and achieve social harmony.

(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)

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