Alongside the increasing danger of COVID transmission, another public health crisis cropped up: data suggest a substantial rise in domestic violence cases all around the globe. Domestic violence is flourishing due to the conditions created by the pandemic.
Women have constantly been subjected to abuse and been victims of social evils such as sati, child marriage, etc. India has been a patriarchal society for several centuries. Since time immemorial women have been looked down up and have been mistreated. Domestic violence is one of the biggest displays of women’s persecution.
In today’s day, when the world is all ready to tackle the grave impact of COVID, the substantial increase in domestic violence has brought up the question of women’s safety. We claim that India has come a long way from ancient times and women are now equal to men. However, when it comes to data, the national commission for women has registered 587 cases of domestic violence between 23 March and 16 April 2020. It is also to be noted that these are only the number of cases being reported to the NCW. Most such cases are reported to the police primarily. The protection of women’s dignity is still a challenge imposed on Indian society.
The Indian judiciary is overburdened by the number of pending cases presently. As of December 2016, the number of pending cases in India was as high as 2.74 crores. In 2017 the number increased to 3.4 crores out of which were 7 lakhs pending divorce cases at the end of December 2017.
Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
This pendency and tremendous delay assert the need for alternate dispute resolution in India. In a developing country like India, there is a growing need for expeditious resolution of disputes to lessen the burden of the judiciary. ADR includes means of dispute resolution that bring about an agreement among disagreeing parties without having to resolve to tedious litigations. ADR is generally of 4 types; arbitration, mediation, resolution, conciliation.
Advantages of ADR
- Cost: Mediation processes generally are expeditious and resolve matters within hours, whereas a court litigation process takes months or years to resolve. Taking less time automatically means spending less amount of money on court and attorney fees.
- Confidentiality: While court hearings are a matter of public record, mediation and other ADRs remain confidential. The legal system of a country cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the matter of mediation. Complete confidentiality is maintained in most ADR cases.
- Mutuality: Parties involved in an ADR typically are ready to work with a mutual consensus and come to an agreement. The parties tend to be more amenable and understanding. The parties are more likely to come to a mutual resolution as opposed to a court case.
The Indian judiciary has time and again advocated the resolution through ADR mechanisms. This has brought about a lot of criticism from all over the country. The critics claim that this enables the abuser or the criminal to be set free since there is no punishment imposed on them. The only advantage of ADR in matrimonial matters is the confidentiality and the speedy process. However, the question that then arises is if the speedy remedy is worth letting a criminal loose on the streets. It is indeed a threat to society at large in addition to being a blessing for the accused that gets away scot-free.