Position of Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR) in India

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Position of Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR) in India

India is the second most populous country in the world. In such a big country, disputes also arise in huge numbers. Hence, justice delivery process becomes slow. Moreover, due to limited manpower in the judicial system, it becomes excessively slow. Therefore, to save themselves from getting never-ending loops of court proceedings and faster resolutions of disputes, alternate disputes resolution (ADR) is gaining grounds in India as well as abroad. In this article, we will discuss the need and importance of ADR in India.


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is the procedure for settling disputes without litigation, such as arbitration, mediation, or negotiation. ADR focuses on the resolution of disputes in a cost-efficient manner without involving courts. It is based on the principle of “Consensus-ad-idem.” It is provided for with the sole objective of blending judicial and non-judicial dispute resolution mechanism and bringing alternate dispute mechanism to the centre of the Indian Judicial System.


ADR in India may not be so prevalent concept. However, it is being practised in India since ancient times. Mediators or Shantidoots were sent before wars to offer peace. In Bhradarnayaka Upanishad, various kinds of bodies for ADR are mentioned like Puga, Sreni, and Kula. Later, with the onset of Muslim Rule in India, Hakam and Tahkeem were introduced. In villages, ADR was practised through Panchayati System. Sarpanch was the head mediator in the dispute arising among village members.

Forms of ADR

  1. Arbitration- It is a process by which an appointed Arbitrator resolves the disputes between the two or more parties. The decision of Arbitrator is binding on the parties. The object of Arbitration is to obtain the fair settlement of dispute without necessary delay and expense.
  2. Mediation- Mediation is a resolution where a third party aims to assist the conflicting parties to reach a settlement through negotiation and communication.
  3. Conciliation – It is a less formal form of Arbitration. In this form of ADR, conciliator meets the conflicting parties separately to reach an agreement. There need not be a prior agreement of Conciliation, unlike Arbitration.
  4. Lok Adalat – Also known as People’s Court, this form of ADR aims to swiftly settling the matter with the direct interaction of Judge. Lok Adalat is conducted by National Legal Service Authority(NALSA) and other Legal service institution.

The legal position of ADR in India

In the Industrial Dispute Act, conciliation between workers and management as a method of ADR was firstly statutorily recognised. According to section 89 of Civil Procedure Code, where there is a scope of settlement which is acceptable to the parties, the court may refer the matter for various forms of ADR discussed above. Subsequently, many statutes have been passed for the growth of ADR in India like Indian Arbitration Act, 1937; Arbitration (Protocol and Convention) Act; Arbitration Act, 1940; Foreign Awards( Recognition and Enforcement) Act, 1961; Arbitration and Conciliation Act,1996.

Advantages of ADR

Following are the advantages of ADR in India –

  1. Less expensive
  2. Less Time Consuming
  3. Flexible Proceedings
  4. Grief redressal is more appropriate and acceptable to parties.
  5. An option of limitation of time in which the arbitration proceedings must get over.


The number of pending cases in Indian courts is increasing day by day. The current cannot take the load of ever-increasing of India. Therefore, ADR methods need to promote more and more. However, with the increase in ADR in India, courts should keep an eye over these alternate methods. Because in the end, a speedy process will become an utter failure if justice is not done. That’s why there is need of a Specialised institution for regulation of ADR in India.

Written By Ankit Raturi, University School of Law and Legal Studies


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