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Justice Dispensation through the Alternative Dispute Resolution System in India

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The Law Commission of India in its 222nd report emphasized the need for Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) for the dispensation of justice, because the courts are inaccessible owing to various factors, e.g., poverty, social and political backwardness, illiteracy, ignorance, procedural formalities and inordinate delay in judgments. During the ancient period the disputes were resolved in an informal manner by neutral third persons or people’s court in villages and it continued till the middle of the 20th century. Unfortunately, after the Independence of India in 1947, this system was dissuaded and the government permitted to continue the adversarial system of justice. In 1980, a committee was set up. It recommended Lok Adalats (People’s Courts). In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted. This Act obligates the states to provide free legal aid to poor persons. Besides this, the Act provides for the establishment of permanent Lok Adalats.

This is one of the important modes of ADR. Lok Adalats have been established in all the districts of the country. They bring conciliatory settlement in complicated cases arising out of matrimonial, landlord-tenants, property, insurance and commercial disputes. There are four methods of ADR, viz., negotiation, mediation, conciliation and arbitration. Mediation and arbitration are widely preferred. They are alternatives to litigation. The Arbitration Act for the first time was enacted in 1889 and it was subsequently amended many times. On the objections raised by the Supreme Court of India and also on the adoption of UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, in 1996 Arbitration and Conciliation Act was enacted. This law is almost the same as is almost in all the countries.

Further, the Government of India established International Centre for Alternative Disputes Resolution (CADR) with the objectives of promotion, propagation, and popularizing the settlement of domestic and international disputes by different modes of ADR.

About the Author

Krishna Agrawal
Indian Institute of Comparative Law
Director, Indian Institute of Comparative Law, Former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Rajasthan (6/146 Malviya Navgar, Jaipur, 302017, India)


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For citation:

Agrawal K. Justice Dispensation through the Alternative Dispute Resolution System in India. Russian Law Journal. 2014;2(2):63-74.

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ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)