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NITI Aayog decides to work with key stakeholders on Online Dispute Resolution framework


NEW DELHI: As India fights Covid crisis, NITI Aayog, in a first, has decided to work with the key stakeholders to develop Online Dispute Resolution as a viable and sustainable form of dispute avoidance and dispute resolution.

It has also synergised the legal acumen of Supreme Court Judges and experience of industry experts to reduce burden of courts, by making dispute resolution cheaper, quicker and credible as conventional methods of dispute resolution

In a unique experiment, it has brought together stakeholders in virtual meetings and started to organize webinars.

On Saturday evening, speaking at a webinar organised by Indian Dispute Resolution Centre ( IDRC), Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog said “we are at the cusp of transformative change, and with alterations necessitated by the pandemic, technology will play a key role in widening equity and affordability. ”

According to NITI Aayog CEO, Banks, NBFCs and MFs could prioritize ODR before they approach debt recovery tribunals. Families would take recourse to ODR to address sensitive issues and so on. Most small and medium value disputes could potentially be resolved without approaching courts, allowing courts to focus more complex cases or that of high public interest.

The pandemic has forced a shift towards solutions that minimize contact and can be activated through technology, including for resolution of disputes, he said.

Divyansh Hanu Rathi of IDRC said, in COVID times, technology and ODR offers hope.

According to Kant, ODR has the potential to reduce high volume of disputes outside the courts and to facilitate access to justice.

It is highly likely there will be a deluge of disputes in the courts – most notably in lending, credit, property, commerce and retail – in the coming months that will require expedient resolution. So while we digitize courts ..we will still need collaborative mechanism of resolution that do not require parties to approach courts, he said.

Earlier, on June 6, NITI Aayog in partnership with ‘Agami’ and Omidyar Network India held a closed door meeting with Supreme Court Judges, namely Justices Dr DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Indu Malhotra and AK Sikri who shared their views.

Other participants included Nandan Nilekani co-founder and Non-Executive Chairperson Infosys, Law Secretary Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Colin rule President Mediate.com.

Speaking at the webinar, Nandan Nilekani said, “I think using the data and AI as a feedback loop to improve the quality of law making is a huge opportunity.There is of value in the ODR system in itself and as an adjunct to the large regal system, and something that will help us to get the overall legal system forward.”

Less expensive option, feel judges

“Today every body is concerned, the government is also concerned because of the unfortunate situation that we must resolve disputes.infact this dispute resolution of disputes is part of economic revival, diaspora of the government, that is why NITI Aayog has also taken initiative. Commercial disputes are eminently suitable for an online mediation, where both sides are in a difficult economic situation,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul opined.

According to Justice Indu Malhotra, one of the main advantages of ODR is going to be not only to provide expeditious resolution of disputes, but it will also be far less expensive and economical for the parties.

Justive AK Sikri said: “We have to ensure ODR start ups can resolve disputes without glitches and ensure confidence , transparency and the fair procedure.”

The purpose of the meeting was to explore online dispute resolution to contain and resolve disputes, particularly small and medium value disputes , before they enter formal court process, according to Agami.

Sachin Malhan co-founder Agami said, with clarity and encouragement, our startups can scale access to justice and ease of doing business.

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