Alternative Dispute Resolution, A Boon

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Judiciary: Alternative Dispute Resolution, A Boon

| Updated: December 11, 2023 11:52

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism is a concept resorted to provide a substitute way to resolve disputes, when the conventional methods of judiciary reaches an impasse. A world famous and robust judicial system such as ours is one of the most established in entire world. Even then, our conventional system at times demonstrates it’s inefficiency in arriving at settlement. It is here that the ADR pitches in.

ADR addresses the issue of piled up pending case in Indian courts. It is a known fact that our heavily burdened courts are clogged with cases of all types such as civil, commercial, industrial and family matters, remaining unsettled since years.

The ADR is a mechanism that uses neutral third party which enables the opposing parties to communicate, discuss the differences and arrive at a settlement in a peaceful manner.

The Acts which deals with Alternative Dispute Resolution are Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and The Legal Services Authority Act, 1987

The methods used under ADR include arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation and lok Adalat. Founded on the basis of fundamental rights, article 14 and 21, ADR looks for providing free legal aid provided under article 39-A relating to Directive Principle of State Policy(DPSP).


The arbitration is a process where a valid agreement between the opposing parties takes place beforehand where one or more persons as named as “arbitrators” and whose decision called “award” is bindind to everyone.

After meeting in person the parties meet in persons for hearing and present the arguments and evidences. The arbitrator passes an award after the witnesses are examined and evidences are presented.


Mediation is another ADR method where a third neutral party, believed to be possessing apt communication and negotiation techniques, assists two or more disputants in reaching agreement. The Mediator facilitates the parties to reach settlement without imposing personal views or making any decision himself.

Lok Adalat

Lok Adalat, ‘The People’s Court’ is a popular mechanism to arrive at judgement in swifter manner. The Lok Adalat is conducted by National Legal Service Authority(NALSA) and other Legal Services Institutions at regular intervals. The Lok Adalat is presided over by a sitting or retired judicial officer, social activists or members of Legal profession as the chairman. In Lok Adalat is without court fees and there is no rigidity of procedure. Lok Adalat allows direct interaction with the judge, which is not possible in regular courts.

Alternative Dispute Resolution has many benefits for all the stakeholders.

  • Shorter time taken for dispute resolution
  • Cheaper litigation costs
  • Informal, hence less stressful
  • Efficient for restoring personal relations

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