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Report No. 230

Alternate Dispute Resolution

1.48 With the march of time, new demands emerge, which sometimes make the existing system outdated or non-functional, requiring it to be replaced by a new one. Law should also respond to the demands of the society. The alternate dispute resolution methods have evolved as a result of this vision.

1.49 The first avenue where the conciliation has been effectively introduced and recognized by law is labour law, namely, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Conciliation has been statutorily recognized as an effective method of dispute resolution in relation to disputes between workers and management. The only field where the courts in India have recognized Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) is in the field of arbitration. Another area where ADR is recognized in India is family law. The legislation which emphasizes ADR is the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987.

1.50 Provisions have been made in the Legal Services Authorities Act for settling cases through Lok Adalats; a Lok Adalat generally comprises a judicial officer, serving or retired, a lawyer, and a person of a social welfare association, preferably, a woman. Power has been given to Lok Adalats to dispose of disputes referred to them by arriving at a compromise or settlement between the parties; awards of Lok Adalats are deemed to be decrees of civil courts or orders of other courts or tribunals; every award made by a Lok Adalat is treated as final and binding on all the parties to the dispute, and no appeal lies to any court against the award.

Reforms in the Judiciary - Some Suggestions Back

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