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Disputes which and cannot be settled by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

 ADR techniques are extra-judicial in nature. They can be used in almost all the matters which are capable of being resolved, under law, by agreement between the parties. They have been employed with very encouraging results with a high rate of resolution in several areas of disputes, especially civil, commercial, industrial and family disputes. These techniques have been very effective across the full range of business disputes. banking; contract performance and interpretation; contracts of construction; IPR (Intellectual Property Rights); insurance covers-Joint ventures; differences or disputes in partnership; personal injury; liability of product; professional liability; real estates; and securities.

Disputes which can be settled through ADR Process

 In Alcons Infrastructure Ltd. v. Cherian Varkey Construction Co. (P) Ltd., (2010) 8 SCC 24, the Supreme Court held that the following categories of cases can be settled through ADR process:--

 ( I) All cases relating to Business, trade, commerce and contracts, including—

  • disagreements arising out of provisions of contracts (including all money claims);
  • disputes relating to performance of specific acts;
  • clashes between customers and supplier of goods;
  • disputes arising between the bank and its account holders
  •   disputes relating to real estate.
  • disputes between landlords and tenants
  •   disputes relating to providing of insurance

(2) All cases arising from soured relationships, including—

  • disputes relating to marriages, maintenance, custody of children
  • disputes as to partition of property among the family , coparceners etc.
  • disputes among partners relating to partnership

(3) Cases where there is a need for a resolution without altering the previous relation.

  • disputes between neighbours (relating to parking, nuisance, noise complaint etc.)
  • clashes between employers and employees
  • disputes among people living together societies.

 (4) All disputes relating to tort and its liability, including—

  • Claims for accidents or negligence.

 (6) All offences which are referred to as compoundable as per the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973

 Disputes which cannot be settled through ADR Process

ADR may not be suitable for every situation; even if appropriate, it cannot be invoked unless both parties to a dispute are genuinely interested in a settlement.

In Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. v. Cherian Varkey Construction Co. (P) Ltd. & Ors., (2010) 8 SCC 24, Supreme Court enumerated the following categories of cases not suitable for ADR having regard to their nature:

  • Suits mentioned under Order I, Rule 8 CPC which involve interest of public or interest of several persons who are not parties before the court.
  • Election disputes as to public offices.
  • Cases which are related to serious and specific allegations of fraud, fabrication of documents, forgery, impersonation, coercion under the Indian Penal Code.
  • Special cases which involve protection of courts, for instance, claims against minors, deities and mentally challenged and suits for declaration of title against government.
  • Proceedings which involve prosecution for criminal offences.


  • Introduction
  • Disputes which can be settled through ADR Process
  • Disputes which cannot be settled through ADR Process

BY : Vinayan Singh

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