Friday 18 March 2011

Online Dispute Resolution In India

Dispute resolution is an essential part of our daily lives. The traditional methods of dispute resolution involve utilising the platforms of courts and tribunals. However, the procedure followed by these courts and tribunals is not only cumbersome but also very time consuming.

To get speedier redressal of disputes, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like arbitration, mediation, conciliation, etc have been developed. However, nothing can beat the use of online dispute resolution in India (ODR in India).

The use of ODR in India has many benefits but they can be achieved only if we have a well established ODR infrastructure in India. The present ODR infrastructure of India is in doldrums. India has neither a well organised legal framework nor adequate use of technology to make ODR in India a success.

According to Praveen Dalal, leading techno legal expert of India and Managing Partner of New Delhi based Law Firm Perry4Law, there is no dedicated Legal Framework for Online Dispute Resolution in India. Although some hints can be picked from the sole Cyber Law of India, as incorporated in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000), yet these random and selective provisions cannot sustain a sound, robust and long term ODR System in India.

Another reason for lack of growth of ODR in India is absence of specialised institutions that can provide training, education, research and policies for the success of ODR in India.

For instance, we have a single techno legal e-courts training, consultancy and educational centre in India. It is managing many crucial aspects of technology and law like e-courts, ODR, digital evidencing, judges and lawyers training for e-courts and ODR, cyber law trainings, etc. This centre is managed by Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB), a techno legal segment of Perry4Law.

Finally, the approach of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is also defective as far as India is concerned. There are very few “ODR Providers” in India and, unfortunately, none of them are part of the recently constituted “Working Group on ODR” of UNCITRAL.

In these circumstances, expecting India to be a hub for ODR services would be an over ambitious thinking. India has still to cover a long gap before ODR would be used for dispute resolution.