New Delhi : The administration of Justice in India has a history of being delayed and the Covid-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse. Although the Supreme Court has allowed the online filling and hearing of cases, one cannot neglect the fact that the judiciary is already overburdened and heavily clogged with tons of cases. An improvised and efficient solution is required to ease pressure on courts and one of the answer to this can be through the Online Dispute Resolution or ODR.
Online Dispute Resolution or ODR is a process to settle disputes outside courts, combining technology and alternative dispute resolution (“’ADR’’) mechanisms. ODR covers disputes that are settled over the internet having been initiated in cyberspace but with a source outside it i.e. offline. Originally, arbitration was intended as an alternative to going to court for various kinds of disputes but with time the method itself has become complex and expensive.
ODR offers a faster, transparent and accessible option for many companies to resolve disputes online particularly those who have high volume and low-value cases. In the past half-decade, India has been significant growth in the volume of online transactions, no other position would be more convenient to accept ODR as an efficient mechanism to resolve disputes and hence implement a fast and fair dispute resolution system.
The concept of ODR in India is at a nascent stage. The NITI Aayog had constituted a high level committee to take it forward and the report of the Committee released on 29.11.2021 inter-alia recovers for mainstreaming of ODR in India, as a cost effective, convenient, efficient process which can be customised to the specific needs of the parties. Ministry of Law & Justice is taking proactive steps to ensure that the state level initiatives by NITI Aayog are given proper support. In this regard the govt. is giving due support to the Online Dispute Management platforms.