ADR or “Alternative Dispute Resolution” is an attempt to devise a machinery which should be capable of providing an alternative to the conventional methods of resolving disputes. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms are largely out of court settlements aimed at settling disputes in an amicable manner, which are free from strict procedural formalities and are cost effective. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in India is not new and it was in existence even under the previous Arbitration Act, 1940. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 has been enacted to accommodate the harmonization mandates of UNCITRAL Model.
The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 has also been amended from time to time to endorse use of ADR methods. Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure as amended in 2002 has introduced conciliation, mediation and pre-trial settlement methodologies for effective resolution of disputes. Section 80, Civil Procedure Code provides that where it appears to the court that there exist elements, which may be acceptable to the parties, the court may formulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for arbitration, conciliation, mediation or judicial settlement.
The swift growth of e-commerce and web site contracts has increased the potential for conflicts over contracts which have been entered into online. This has necessitated a solution that is compatible with online matters and is netizens centric. This challenging task can be achieved by the use of Online Dispute Resolution Mechanism (ODRM) in India. The use of ODRM to resolve such e-commerce and web site contracts disputes are crucial for building consumer confidence and permitting access to justice in an online business environment.
In India, varied ADR mechanisms exist for resolving disputes outside the courts. The general ADR methods of resolving disputes are: