The Prayas ePathshala

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08 May 2024 – The Hindu


How Online Disputes are Settled in India

  • It is the settlement of conflicts, especially those involving small and medium-sized situations.
  • It makes use of digital technologies as well as ADR methods like arbitration, mediation, and negotiation.
  • Information technology is used to conduct ADR.
  • The ODR’s information management and communication technologies can be used for all or just a portion of the proceedings, and they can also affect how the conflicts are resolved.

ODR in the nation of India:

  • The UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and the UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules were adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in 1980 and 1985, respectively.
  • When a disagreement occurs in the framework of international economic relations and the parties seek an amicable resolution through conciliation, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has advocated using the aforementioned Model Law and Rules.
  • These standard ADR principles have been included into India’s Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, which has undergone multiple amendments.
  • For both domestic and foreign parties, the Arbitration Act offers ADR procedures including arbitration, conciliations, etc.

India’s Position in Conflict Settlement:

  • According to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, the country moved up from 142nd place out of 190 in 2014 to 63rd place in 2019.
  • India is ranked 163rd in the world for “Enforcing Contracts,” a little improvement from 186th in 2015 and 173rd in 2006.
  • According to the report, it takes over four years and one-third of the claim’s total cost to enforce a contract in India.
  • Brazil: It requires $22% of the claim value and takes somewhat more than two years.
  • Mexico: 341 days and 33% of the total claim amount
  • Vietnam: 29% of claim value after 400 days.

The history of ODR development:

  • By the mid-decade, India had passed its first laws pertaining to conciliation and arbitration.
  • Absence of preference for ad hoc arbitration over institutional arbitration
  • The judiciary’s frequent meddling in matters ranging from arbitrator selection to award enforcement
  • voiding arbitral rulings for “public policy” reasons.


  • Even for disputes involving Indian firms, arbitration is not favoured in India.
  • Even in situations when the issue is with an Indian entity, many continue to pursue arbitration abroad.
  • During the 1990s, when India was opening up to global business, Singapore established the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.
  • It is rated #1 for “Enforcing Contracts” and has become a major worldwide centre for arbitration.
  • Its top users are Indian corporations.

Technology Utilised in ODR:

  • It can offer efficient resolutions, save money and time, and lessen the load on the courts.
  • ODR incorporates the use of other tools in addition to audio and video conferencing, including:
  • Leading the way in integrating ODR processes into various programmes are the Reserve Bank of India, the National Payments Corporation of India, the Open Network for Digital Commerce, and a few more organisations.

The Way Ahead:

  • India is headed in the right direction thanks to the 2015 and 2019 reforms as well as a few court rulings.
  • Restrictions have been placed on the use of “public policy” as a justification for annulling awards, with the goal of giving institutional arbitration priority.
  • Encourage the use of ODR by enacting laws that exempt or minimise court costs and stamp duty, expedite the enforcement of ODR rulings, and designate ODR as the default dispute resolution mechanism for certain types of disputes resulting from online transactions.
  • Reduce the digital divide, address infrastructure issues, and spur the expansion of ODR by making the most of already-existing systems, such Aadhaar kendras, to double as ODR kiosks.
  • An ODR cell and additional technological and administrative support can be provided to any court.
  • Similar to how the Union Budget 2023 allocated ₹7,000 crore for the e-Courts project’s third phase (which aims to digitise the justice system),
  • It is necessary to establish a special fund to advance ODR.
  • ODR should be investigated by government agencies as a grievance resolution method.
  • In addition to fostering public confidence in the ODR process, proactive utilisation by government agencies will guarantee that citizens have access to a practical and affordable method of resolving conflicts with their government.
  • ODR has the capacity to guarantee universal access to justice.
  • India may yet catch up and surpass them all online, even though it missed the bus to become a centre for arbitration.
  • According to NITI Aayog, India is “uniquely positioned to emerge as the epicentre for the developments in ODR” because of the country’s growing technological breakthroughs and need for an effective conflict resolution mechanism.

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