India Must Use Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

India Must Use Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)Alternative dispute resolution is a viable and cost effective method to resolve disputes. Rather than approaching the courts, the disputes are settled outside the court by parties to the disputes. Parties may use arbitration, mediation, conciliation or any other mode of negotiation that can help them in resolving the dispute in question.

As technology has advanced, it has also been used to resolve disputes among the parties. This is more so where disputes involve multiple jurisdictions that require urgent resolution. Online dispute resolution (ODR) is the natural result of such cross border e-commerce and technology transactions disputes that require urgent and cost effective resolutions. Further, corporate disputes in India would be resolved using ADR/ODR techniques in the future.

India has recently adopted the Digital India and Internet of Things (IoT) policies that would use technology to provide public services. As a result some stress upon establishment of e-courts in India and use of ODR in India may also be given by the Indian government. The National Litigation Policy of India was introduced in the past by Congress government. However, it failed to cover the areas like e-courts and ODR. Now the BJP government would revive the litigation policy keeping in mind the use of technology in this regard.

We at Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) believe that use of ODR and e-courts at national level are bound to happen though not at the same pace and level as is happening at the international level. For instance, the Hague Institute for Global Justice has constituted a Commission on Global Security, Justice and Governance (PDF). The Commission has been constituted to fill the void from which the present world is suffering. The Commission would manage issues pertaining to political violence, environmental decay, cyber insecurity and cross-border economic shocks. Similarly, a Working Group of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is also considering extended use of ODR for dispute resolution.

We would be tremendously benefitted if we establish ODR infrastructure and capabilities in India. It would take some time before ODR can be effectively used in India and the same would require both technological changes and policy formulation.  The sooner this is done the better it would be for the larger interest of India.