In India it is widely accepted that the courts are finding it difficult to clear the huge backlog of cases. More are number of cases that go in the court than the number of cases disposed of from time to time. Therefore, steps are to be taken in India also for case management of civil litigation. The main efforts focus on developing and expanding the dispute resolution forums and devices independent of the court through the expansion of the use of commercial arbitration, development of private resolution and counselling services, establishment of community based dispute establishments and fostering the enlistment of mediators to help resolve complex, and multi party disputes such as those related to environmental cases. Other efforts which are considered valuable are the systematic changes effecting the handling of large classes of disputes through de-legislation, regulatory innovations (e.g. the environmental “bubble” concept) and low cost access to legal services. Perhaps, the Legal Aid Cells (govt.) have a dominant role to play in ADR movement.
The field of dispute resolution has a wide range of activity reaching political, economic and social problems. The issues could be conflicting interests, values, objectives, perceptions or emotions. The concern of the field of dispute resolution could include among the other factors, global peace, free enterprise system, property rights, crime, income-distribution and environmental problems. It could cover every dispute-handling and resolution forum as well as process- formula and informal, judicial, legislative, administrative, electoral, regulatory and economic. It could encompass every level dispute, inter personal, inter-institutional, inter-group and inter governmental. In U.S.A where the dispute resolution movement is popular and is gathering increasing momentum, international disputes however are not included.
The debate that is going on in India, ever since economic reforms were introduced in the last decade is as to how we resolve conflicts and disputes in an increasingly pluralist and complex society. It has been prompted by growing realization that the justice delivery system in India is in a state of crisis. The overwhelming majority of citizens are cut off from access to justice.
In certain countries where ADR has been successful, Over 90 percent of the cases are settled out of court. It is further observed that if parties agree to arbitration, then the provisions of the Arbitration Conciliation Act 1996 will apply and the case will go outside the stream of the court, but resorting to conciliation or judicial settlement or mediation with a view to settle the dispute, would not take the case outside the judicial system. All this means is that the effort has to be made to bring about an amicable settlement between the parties, but conciliation or mediation or judicial settlement is not possible, despite efforts being made, the case will ultimately go to trial.
It may be stated that since 1996, strenuous efforts have been made by all concerned to introduce ADR mechanism for resolution of the cases pending in courts at all levels. Enactment of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 is an attempt in that direction.
Prof. Dr.A.S.Raju: “ THE ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION ACT,1996”