With the current times and with the spread of the infamous coronavirus, our lives have changed drastically. ‘Work for home’ and ‘study from home’ have become the new norms for people around the world. In this situation, there is no difference with Indian Judicial System. With the spread of the virus, the Supreme Court has said that it might introduce court proceedings via video conferencing. There are lot of countries which has started with this process.
Online Dispute Resolution is a way to settle disputes outside courts, combining the latest technology and the alternative dispute mechanism. It includes arbitration, mediation and conciliation. Why online dispute resolution is considered useful? It eases the pressure on the courts. According to National Judicial Data Grid, Law Commission report: around 4.56 million cases are pending in the High Courts and around 31.5 million cases pending in the Supreme Court.
Steps involved in Online Dispute Mechanism:
- One party approaches the forum which contacts the other party.
- If both the parties agree to the rules of the arbitration proceedings, an arbitrator is appointed and a time stamped invitation is sent to both the parties through e-mail/whatsapp/SMS. (the parties do not meet face to face, they communicate through electronic modes of communication)
- An award is then passed after the arbitral proceedings. The decision which is made is legally binding and passed within 20-25 days.
Need for ODR Mechanism:
- According to William E Gladstone “justice delayed is justice denied”. Therefore online dispute resolution system plays an important role in serving justice within a limited time period.
- It also helps in time and cost management.
- It is also flexible and easy to access.
- The data from this form of dispute resolution is always stored. Hence, it helps in case there are any problems in the future.
Challenges to ODR Mechanism:
- Mutual consent of the parties is required. Sometimes both the parties might not agree to the ODR mechanism.
- Jurisdiction plays an important role in any legal matter. In case of ODR mechanism it is difficult to determine the jurisdiction of a particular case.
- Another disadvantage is that the parties have to have minimum knowledge about computers.