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Online Dispute Resolution

As the world is heading towards the virtual scenario, the ADR has also taken a step ahead in form of Online Dispute Resolution as Section 89 of Civil Procedure Code clearly mentions the terms of it. Now, first of all what is ADR? What role does it play in maintaining the distribution of justice? Alternative Dispute Resolution means resolving the conflicts between the parties concerned outside the periphery of the courts. It plays major in minimizing the burden on the judiciary. Alternative Dispute Resolution came to be used explicitly with the overloading burden on the courts as each judge in the court has been assigned to resolve many cases in a day (Everybody knows how much time it takes for a case to meet its destiny). Thus, filing a case in the court is a time consuming task and it takes a lot of time in resolving a dispute which is need of remedy at the particular point of time. Now, with the coming of new techniques in ADR such as mediation, arbitration and conciliation, most of the disputes are settled outside the courts (giving enough time for the courts to enjoy the leisure available to them). With the coming of internet as a platform of political, financial and social activities, the ADR has also taken a step ahead in form of Online Dispute Resolution as Section 89 of Civil Procedure Code clearly mentions the terms of it. This concept is certainly evolving in India as in the case of Salem Advocate Bar vs. Union of India (2003) gave rules for proper functioning of ADR. Online dispute resolution is a part of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the use of internet has grown and increased at a rate of 566.4% which is because of the rapid development of the ICT sector (Nowadays, even the process of respiration is impossible without technology). The growth of internet and the digital economy held a pause for a certain period because of the 2000-2001 economic crisis and the “Dotcom bubble burst” along with the 2009 recession but after all these events they have bloomed as much faster than ever. To reduce the cost and the time in the litigation process ADR developed as the means to solve the disputers with ease in the Roman Empire (why always Romans and the Greeks?).

ODR plays as an institutional method of ADR where a set of guidelines are established to guide the parties, arbitrators/mediators and the proceedings. It has many advantages such as with the advent of ODR the entire proceedings are available online at the comfort of our home as well as our interests which is very helpful for resolving the disputes and conflicts.

The Online Dispute Resolution is in an initial phase and has not taken a concrete shape. This phase is related to it evolutionary process and in this evolutionary process there are many barriers and hindrances to a successful online dispute resolution (As when a seed is down to become a full grown tree, it first evolves as a weak plant but during the course of time, it eventually grows up to a huge tree which then provides a safeguard to all creatures in need). There are some challenges to it as nothing is perfect through its inception like many people have lack of confidence over the online activities and hence their contribution to this field remains less. Their ideas transmit culturally and flow in an unregulated manner. Though, it has been the policy to focus on the internet facilities and it has been discussed continuously about considering the internet as the ‘ basic right’ yet for the ODR procedure to take place there should be a well-developed ODR platform, legal professionals along with software to have a perfect online dispute resolution mechanism.  Due to globalization, developing countries share the common characteristics of unequally distributed wealth the developed nations have a more potential for ODR than the developing and the underdeveloped states which causes a disparity to arise. As effective as the Internet has been in rendering geographical location irrelevant for purposes of social and economic community, it has been equally effective in disrupting the jurisdictional framework by which participants traditionally seek redress.

Snehal Asthana

Author is I Semester Students of BA LLB (H), in University School of Law and Legal Studies, Gurugobind Singh Indraprastha University, Dwarka, New Delhi. She did her schooling from Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute, Subroto Park, New Delhi. She is keen to write article based on history. She has written many book review too.

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