Litigation or going to court to resolve a dispute has been one of the oldest and the most used methods of resolving disputes between parties to the dispute. The method of resolving disputes through litigation has also been a very efficient method of resolving disputes but with the advent of technology and continuous opening up of the economies, there has been a massive increase in the number of cases in the courts burdening it with millions of cases. The government has made efforts for the expeditious resolution of disputes and has made fast-track courts that hear the case on fast track basis as well as set up different types of adjudicatory tribunals which do not follow the procedural laws in the very strict sense for the expeditious resolution of the disputes. The setting up of the fast track courts and the tribunals has been only of a little use and they are also clogging upon with cases that have made their condition similar to the normal courts.

So, there seemed a need for some other type of dispute resolution mechanism that solves the dispute in a much speedy, cost-effective, and result-oriented manner which the techniques of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) have solved to a very great extent. The ADR mechanism is a very growing technique of dispute resolution and seems to reach further new heights in the coming future after the Covid 19 crisis as there have been a rising number of disputes because of the bad financial conditions of the companies, breaking of contracts, laying off of employees and rising number of family disputes as well.

The method of ADR involves the use of a neutral third party which initiates the resolving of issue between the parties to the dispute through different modes of ADR techniques.



This process involves a third party or an arbitrator adjudicating the dispute between the parties whose decision is bound on the parties in the form of a decision called an award. This technique cannot be initiated without a valid arbitration agreement or an arbitration clause in the contract before the emerging dispute. This arbitration agreement or the clause specifies the course of actions after the emergence of the dispute, the number of arbitrators to be appointed, the language of the arbitration proceedings as well as the seat of the arbitration (the place where the arbitration will take place)[1].  The arbitration proceedings commence by issuing a notice to the opposite party and the proceedings deem to start when the opposite party receives the notice. The parties to the dispute can agree on the procedure to be followed in the dispute and if the arbitration agreement specifies the referral to a specific arbitration institution, the rules of that institution become part of the arbitration clause or agreement. The award of the arbitration can be executed as a decree of the court under CPC[2]. Usually, the arbitration proceedings need to be ended in the span of 1 year from its initiation.


This type of dispute resolution involves the appointment of a neutral third party who tries to assist the disputing parties to reach an agreement. The third-party as the name suggests acts as an impartial and neutral mediator between the parties. The mediator’s main work is to facilitate the communication and negotiation between the parties and he cannot impose his views but he can only give a compromise formula to the parties after hearing their part of the story. This type of technique of dispute resolution is not binding on the parties and they can come out of it anytime and refer the matter to the court. This method is of great use in matrimonial matters as there is a deadlock of conversation between the parties as this method helps them to initiate the conversation, tell their problems and put their part of the story in front of each other and has been proved to be worthy in many matters.


This type of technique is provided in Section 61, Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, and is a much less formal technique. This method involves a neutral person meeting the parties for re-concealing the dispute between them and to amicably settle their differences. This technique usually involves one of the parties or the litigants sending a neutral person to the other party for conciliation of the dispute. The conciliation process only starts after the acceptance of the offer by the other party or otherwise, the process of conciliation will end. The conciliation process can start even if there is no agreement before the dispute and it may also start while the arbitration proceedings are going on[3]


This type of technique is nowhere defined under the act but has seen a rising in the past few years. This process involves an informal and very flexible way of resolving the dispute without the need of a neutral third party unlike in arbitration, mediation, and conciliation. There is no compulsion on the parties to enter into negotiation and it is completely based on the voluntariness of the parties. The chance of reaching a settlement or a resolution is certainly high in this type of technique as it provides them with full control over the whole process and allows them to communicate their grievances directly to each other without the intervention of a third party[4].


This process assumes its statutory recognition from the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and was much needed going by the illiteracy and the financial conditions of people in this country. The Lok Adalats are usually organized once every month by the legal aid authorities. It provides the parties with a platform to tell their differences and resolve the issue in a very expeditious manner. Section 19, 20, 21, and 22 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987[5] provides for the different situations in which the disputes can be referred to as the Lok Adalat. This involves a very easy process and the rigid intricacies of law are not followed while hearing the cases. The cases pending before a court and even the cases which are not yet brought before the court can also be referred to the Lok Adalat. This is more beneficial to the financially weaker sections of the society as it does not involve the payment of any court fees by the parties and these sections can also get their piece of justice.


ADR techniques are continuously on a rise in India as it involves the resolution of the disputes in much cost effective and time barred manner. The methods of dispute resolution were also extensively used during the worldwide lockdown through virtual ADR mechanisms for the settlement of disputes and have continuously able to keep a strong stance as a method of resolution.

So, ADR should be promoted by the government and it should start investing in these facilities as it will lower down a major part of the burden from the courts and tribunals. The investment should be made on the infrastructure and training of people for these techniques as only then it will work smoothly and for the proper benefit of the people. It will also create many employments for the people and will also take back the long-lost trust of the people in the justice delivery system. The methods of dispute resolution were also extensively used during the worldwide lockdown through virtual ADR mechanisms for the settlement of disputes and have continuously able to keep a strong stance as a method of resolution.


[1] Rishabh Saxena, ‘All you need to know about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)’ ( iPleaders, 9 May 2017),mediation%2C%20negotiation%20and%20lok%20Adalat. Accessed on 7 February 2021

[2] Dipen Sabharwal, Aditya Singh and Sindhu Sivakumar, ‘Arbitral proceedings in India’ (Lexology),with%20arbitrator%20independence%20and%20impartiality. Accessed on February 8, 2021

[3] S. Chaitanya Shashank, Kaushalya T. Madhavan, ‘ADR in India: Legislations and Practices’ (Lawctopus,  7 January, 2015) accessed on 8 January, 2021

[4] Riya Dani, ‘Negotiation as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution’ (VIA Mediation & Arbitration Centre) accessed on 8 February 2021

Author : Shivek Rai Kapoor

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