The whole purpose of Alternative Dispute Resolution is to provide a substitutive means of settling a case. Ever since the onset of technological inventions and integration, digital disruption has found a way to be incorporated even in this field of law, whereby the primary purpose is to make integrated use of technology and methods of alternate dispute resolution to provide for an even more efficient, speedy and convenient way to settle any case between two or more parties. Regardless of the condition, this mode, now popularly known as Online Dispute Resolution (ODR), is recommended by the judiciary, especially if the parties to a particular case do not have an issue with this mode of settlement.
In the Indian context, ODR is seen and accepted by the law using the Code of Civil Procedure as well as the Information Technology Act, both of which have provisions that do not explicitly speak about ODR, but at the same time have been drafted with language that makes room for this method of proceedings.
Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd. v. AES Corporation
This case involved an international arbitration dispute, regarding the appointment of a third arbitrator when the first two arbitrators were not in the presence of each other and the same could not be seen in writing due to the said international nature of the case at hand. A case taking place in two cities of New York and New Delhi called for intervention by the Supreme Court, which in finality commented on the different aspects of the case but also opined on the fact that electronic media and conferencing can be resorted to in cases where parties or arbitrators cannot be in physical proximity of each other and that same is not necessary by the rule of law, as it promotes convenience and smoothens the entire process.
Recent Developments vis-à-vis ODR
India has seen the smooth functioning of ADR cases throughout the world owed to ODR. It has taken inspiration from the same by making efforts to integrate a proper set of guideline or laws regarding the same, the most recent development being taken forward by the NITI Aayog, which launched the handbook on Online Dispute Resolution in collaboration with prominent organizations, aiming to establish a mechanism for ODR to be adopted in the business world for smooth functioning.
In addition, various technological platforms have been established to promote the usage of this mechanism further. SAMA is the platform used by ICICI to facilitate online dispute resolution and has gained traction. Another platform on the rise is Jupitice, which aims to promote private digital courts specifically for ADR cases. Their existence to solidify the ODR mechanism and usage in India is the best and most efficient way possible.
It is safe to say that if the government shows more backup towards the mechanism of online dispute resolution, the process of dispute resolutions taking place on electronic devices will be eased by a great deal and will help in boosting the economy as well as contribute to reducing the burden that is already present on the judiciary with respect to the backlog of cases.
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