Judges make a case for alternative dispute resolution

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Bangalore, Dec 7, 2013, DHNS : If high courts have to focus on deciding serious issues, there has to be a bypass mechanism through alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

This would address the timeframe problems in the legal system. In fact, “settlement” is the buzz word, said Justice S K Kaul, Chief Justice, High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

Justice Kaul was speaking at the inaugural of the international conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution organised by the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution. Emphasising the importance of ADR in not only reducing the burden on courts but also in ensuring faster resolution of issues, he said ADR can’t be considered as a part-time job any more.  “Legality is not the solution always. You need a hybrid solution. Courts can’t decide on the emotions behind the dispute,” he opined.

Supreme Court Judge Justice S S Nijjar said that in India the interference of courts were a “little too much.” Referring to the intervention by courts as “necessary evil,” he said there were certain areas where it could be reduced.

In this direction, institutionalised arbitration needed to be encouraged. “Till now, India has not been seen as an arbitration-friendly nation. We have to be arbitration-minded,” he said.

Calling for a fixed time frame and fees for settling cases through arbitration, he said that the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 needed to be amended for more efficiently implementing ADR.

Karnataka scenario

Speaking about the status of ADR in Karnataka, Chief Justice, High Court of Karnataka, Justice D H Waghela said the court-assisted ADR was deep-rooted in the State. “A full-fledged mediation centre in Bangalore has been able to resolve more than 60 per cent of the 6,000 cases referred without further recourse. More than 95,000 cases have been settled through Lok Adalats in the last three months. Bangalore has become a hub for ADR in South India,” he observed.

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