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Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

  • IASbaba
  • November 30, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Online Dispute Resolution (ODR)

Part of: Mains GS-II: Judiciary

In News: NITI Aayog released the report ‘Designing the Future of Dispute Resolution: The ODR Policy Plan for India’, to scale dispute avoidance, containment and resolution online. The roll out of the stated recommendations in the report can help make India a world leader in using technology and innovation through Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for effective access to justice for every individual.

  • Chaired by Supreme Court Justice (Retd) AK Sikri

Recommends measures at three levels to tackle challenges in adopting ODR framework in India 

  • At the structural level, it suggests actions to increase digital literacy, improve access to digital infrastructure and train professionals as neutrals to deliver ODR services.
  • At the behavioural level, the report recommends adoption of ODR to address disputes involving Government departments and ministries. 
  • At the regulatory level, the report recommends a soft-touch approach to regulate ODR platforms and services. This involves laying down design and ethical principles to guide ODR service providers to self-regulate while fostering growth and innovations in the ecosystem.
  • The report also stresses on strengthening the existing legislative framework for ODR by introducing necessary amendments to statutes. The report offers a phased implementation framework for ODR in India.

What is ODR?

ODR is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of ADR, such as arbitration, conciliation and mediation. 

  • It refers to the process of using technology for dispute avoidance, containment and resolution outside the traditional court system. 
  • As a dispute resolution avenue it can be provided both as an extension of the public court system and outside of it. 
  • Increasingly, ODR has received impetus across Government, businesses and even the judicial processes to tide over the constraints due to Covid-19.

Why Do We Need ODR?

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a large section of society unable to receive timely access to justice. The pandemic also led to a deluge of disputes further burdening the already lengthy court processes. 

  • ODR has the potential to help reduce the burden on the court and efficiently resolve several categories of cases. 
  • It may also be integrated to support the judiciary through technology integration in court-annexed Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) centres, via e-lok adalats and also be introduced within Government departments for internal disputes.

News Source: PIB

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