Constitutional Imperative of ADR
The Alternate Dispute mechanism is a prominent achievement in India towards justice. However, ADR is not foreign to India. India is a country where Dispute resolution was available at various levels since ancient times and is in practice since time immemorial. The downside of the courts, cumbersome process and pendency of cases realized the need of alternative right to justice. Thus, the Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms evolved to assist the courts in conveying justice to the masses. The foundation of ADR is based upon the cornerstone of our grundnorm, The Constitution of India.
Principles of Natural Justice
The principles form the basis of the Constitution of India which is based on the fairness, equity, reasonableness and equality. The three principles of natural justice, that is, fair hearing, nemo judex in causa sua and reasoned decision were rooted in the ARD mechanism. Therefore, ADR is the process of reasonableness and fairness.
Rule of Law
Rule of law is the basic structure of the Constitution which cannot be amended. The rule of law or equality before law was the key of the Constitutional goal of achieving justice. Consequently, the ADR mechanism was enacted in substructure of the constitutional goal. ADR mechanism is aimed towards justice and equality which are the indispensable attributes of the doctrine.
After the enforcement of Constitution of India in 1950, it became the mainspring for the enactment of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism in India. The Preamble of our Constitution sets out the objective of achieving social justice and economic justice. Furthermore, Article 14 highlights the principles of equality before law and equal protection of law whereas Article 21 stresses on Right to Life and Liberty, both forms the milestone for the foundation of an alternate mechanism of courts which will guarantee speedy justice with fairness, equality and reasonableness. Article 39A of the Constitution obligates the state to secure the operation of legal system which promotes Justice on the basis of equal opportunity with the help of suitable legislations. The ADR mechanism is necessarily instituted for the reason of this constitutional obligation.
In this way, the mechanism gained ratification for its enactment. The implementation of Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism as a means to achieve speedy disposal of justice was a crucial issue settled on the account of grundnorm of the country.
The ADR mechanism is no doubt a great achievement where judiciary is burdened in terms of quantity and quality, this system is adopted to mitigate delay of Justice. “Justice delayed” is “justice denied” and to negate the fact, ADR becomes of utmost significance. Thus, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was enacted based upon UNCITRAL model of law. Nonetheless, the mechanism is not well liked by the masses, may be due to lack of knowledge. Though, it proved to be assistance in a substantial manner. The main objective of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is to minimize the burden of courts by the arbitral process and to promote justice by settling the disputes. Therefore, people are now conscious in support of the process.