Speedy Dispute Resolution Act

SPEEDY DISPUTE RESOLUTION ACT

Author: Divya Vishal

INTRODUCTION

Justice Warren Burger, the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of America had rightly said: “The obligation of the legal profession is to serve as healers of human conflict and we should provide a mechanism that can produce an acceptable result in shortest possible time, with the least possible expense and with a minimum of stress on the participants. That is what justice is all about.”

A compelling legal framework requires not just that fair outcomes are reached but also they be reached quickly. If it is not resolved at the beginning, it grows at a very fast rate, and with time, it becomes very difficult to resolve it.[1] If a case is not solved within a certain period, it leads to a sequence of case and it almost becomes impossible to end the case. Sometimes civil cases may also lead to criminal cases.

In any case, it takes an extremely long effort to get justice through the setup court system. The equity conveyance framework through courts has resulted in some serious issues like unnecessary deferrals, colossal pendency of cases, and costly litigation. In this way, it has gotten hard for poor people to approach equity. In these conditions, it turns out to be altogether fundamental to discover some components where such situations can be successfully and satisfactorily dealt with. Therefore, there is a need for speedy disposal of cases by having effective Acts for it. There are various amendments made by the government for dealing with this issue. Also, there are Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for the prevention of piling up of cases and economically sound justice.

ACTS DEALING WITH SPEEDY DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN COMMERCIAL MATTERS

  1. Arbitration Amendment Act- One of the key issues under the previous Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, was that whether to expose their issue to arbitration as it was not a period bound procedure and subsequently, it was, for the most part, a long procedure.

The Arbitration Amendment Act has been amended to correct this issue, which is summed up as follows:

  • Applications for the arrangement of an arbitrator must be made speedily inside a time of 60 days from the date of administration of notice to the other party.
  • When a court passes an interim order before the initiation of the arbitral case, the proceeding should begin inside 90 days from the date of request.
  • An arbitral proceeding under Part I of the Act must be finished, and an award ought to be passed inside a time of a year from the date of receipt of notice of arrangement by the arbitrators.
  • Upon the inability to pass an award inside the endorsed time, the command of the arbitrator naturally ends.

The Arbitration Amendment Act likewise presents a  fast or speedy arbitration technique to solve issues only when such an alternative is practiced before or at the hour of the selection of the arbitral tribunal.

2. Commercial Courts Act -The Commercial Courts Act gives certain key alterations to the CPC, 1908 so as to speed up the trial in commercial issues. It further expressly expresses that in any occasion of contention, it is the arrangements of the Commercial Courts Act that will fall over some other law. Otherwise, arrangements of the Commercial Courts Act will enhance different laws. The prime changes brought in it is-

The additional documents in the trial should be presented within a period of 30 days of filing suit. The Documents should be admitted within 15 days of finishing the inspection. Lastly, the judgment should be pronounced within 90 days of concluding the arguments or contentions.

3. Bankruptcy Code- The Bankruptcy Code gives a time-bound goal of the procedure of insolvency resolution. Changes acquired by the Bankruptcy Code are relied upon to guarantee an early distinguishing proof of impaired assets and the probability of the restoration of such assets. The Bankruptcy Code additionally gives a fast track process of corporate insolvency for elements with less perplexing structures or businesses. The fast track procedure will be required to be finished inside a time of 90 days with a one-time expansion of 90 days.

Under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Amendment of 2020, amendments were done in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in order to reduce the time consumed in dealing with issues of bankruptcy.

4. Enforcement of Security Interest Bill-The bill amends SARFAESI Act,2002; Indian Stamp Act 1899; Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institution Act 1993 (RDDB Act) and Depositories Act 1996 in order to alter the laws related to debt security matters to make them more rational, sensible and effectual.

PROVISIONS RELATED TO ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM FOR SPEEDY DISPOSAL OF CASES IN INDIA

The main reason for the origin or need of the ADR is the tiresome processes of litigation, costs, and inadequacy of the court system.[2] The honorable Supreme Court has held once that, “the object of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act 1996 is to provide a speedy and alternative solution to the dispute and avoid protraction of litigation. The provisions of the Act have to be interpreted accordingly.”[3]

The legislative sources of speedy removal of cases are found under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, and Code of Civil Procedure. Some of the key legal provisions dealing with ADR are as follows:-

1.Civil Procedure Code– Section 89 was presented with a reason peaceful settlement between parties without the mediation of the court. The arrangement under Section 89 is an endeavor to achieve goals of the settlement of disputes between parties, limit costs, and decrease the weight of the courts. It is given for the sole goal of mixing legal and non-legal components and bringing mechanism of Alternate dispute resolution to the focal point of the Judicial System in India. One can find a similar interpretation in Order 23 Rule 3, Order 32-A, and Section 80 of the CPC. The object of notice under section 80, CPC is to give the government sufficient warning of the case which is going to be filed against it and an opportunity to it to settle the claim without litigation.[4]

The Supreme Court of India in Geeta Iron and Brass Works Ltd.[5]case has stressed that administrations must be made responsible by Parliamentary social review for uneconomical expenses on the litigation process exacted on the parties through its inaction.

2. Family Courts Act, 1984 -S. 9 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 orders the family court to help and convince the parties firstly, to show up at a settlement.

3.The Hindu Marriage Act,1955-Section 23(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 aims at imposing a duty on the court to persuade the parties for reconciliation at the first instance depending upon the factual circumstances of the case.

4. Code of Criminal Procedure-Section 320 of CrPc discusses compounding of offences. Compounding of offences means to drop the accusation against the party by the other party. This is done for peaceful settlement of disputes. The complainant takes back the charges against the accused to settle at a compromise. This leads to litigation outside the court’s quick disposal of cases. Also, section 482 read with 483, CrPc lays that every possible measure to be taken to dispose off the case within 6months from today.[6]

There are other acts dealing with fast removal of cases for efficient working of the court like Industrial Dispute Act,Legal Services Authorities Act – 1987, Interstate water Dispute Act, etc.

In this way, ADR aims at maintaining friendly relations between the parties in disputes as there is no involvement of technical court procedures. However, the amicable settlement does not mean compromise at any cost rather it is a reasonable compromise factor.[7]

MODES OF ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The different modes of ADR are as follows:-

1. Lokadalat– Lokadakat refers to ‘People’s Court’. The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was established to give free and capable legal services to the marginalized section of the society and provide them a platform for quick disposal of disputes with the peacemaking spirit.

2. Mini Lok Adalats – Mini Lok Adalats were established at the sub-area level and in towns with the object of giving equity to tribals and villagers. Local advocates and officials and social workers take part in the mini Lok Adalat.[8]

3. Village Courts – These are units of self-government. They resemble town panchayat. Town panchayat or gram panchayat is under the subject of the state list. There are five individuals in the town court who are elected or nominated. There is no requirement of legal qualification to turn into the member.

4. Arbitration and Conciliation – The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 gives an elective method of solving issue with the help of conciliator and arbitrator. In conciliation, the solution to the dispute is “negotiated” between the parties. The mediator or conciliator cannot impose any kind of solution – the parties themselves must come to an agreement. On the other hand, in arbitration, the arbitrator hears both sides and then makes a legally binding decision or solution that the parties are to accept, whether they like it or not.

5. Mediation Centers – The origin of Mediation centers can be seen in the year 1983, at Tamil Nadu. The fundamental object of the mediation centers is to advance the settlement of issues that are brought to it. Social influencers, social workers, and mediation lawyers participate in it.

It was recommended by the Justice Malimath Committee in its report that after the framing of the issue it should be made obligatory for the court to refer the dispute for settlement either by way of arbitration, conciliation, mediation or through Lok Adalat.[9]

Therefore, it is a principal right of each citizen to get fast justice, which likewise is the fundamental imperative of good legal organization. As held in the case of Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab[10], the fundamental right to life and liberty under Article 21 include the right to a speedy trial. Similar rulings were given by the court in other instances. Consequently, it can be very well inferred that: Right to fast trial is right of the accused person and it envelops all the stages, in the particular examination, request, preliminary trial, appeal, revision, and retrial.

Justice Krishna Iyer has rightly observed, “Our justice system even in grave cases suffers from slow motion syndrome which is lethal to ‘fair trial’ whatever the ultimate decision. Speedy justice is a component of social justice since the community, as a whole, is concerned in the criminal being condignly and finally punished within a reasonable time and the innocent being absolved from the inordinate ordeal of criminal proceedings.”[11]

Governments have attempted to give quick justice, however, the issue perseveres. Because of changes in International law and trade, the court’s framework can’t meet the prerequisites of global dealers or the corporate division in administering speedy equity. The litigation process has not stayed up with the quick-moving society and the developing changes in business rehearses. This situation has made disappointment among disputants and drove the advancement of increasingly adaptable methods for dispute resolution. The formal lawful framework has been incapable to satisfy the needs of equity of the business network as well as of the citizens. Accordingly numerous people are denied access to speedy equity. Therefore, there is a need for some viable methods reliable with demands of equity, value, and fair play, to accelerate the removal of cases and clear up the mounting back payments of cases. This will lessen the burden of the Indian Judicial system. Thus, the above-mentioned mechanisms are a contribution towards speedy disposal of disputes among the parties.


[1] Anurag k. Agarwal, Role of Alternative Dispute Resolution methods in development of society : ‘Lok Adalat’ in India, available at www.napsipag.org/pdf/Lok_Adalat.pdf accessed on 02.07-2020.

[2] Avtar Singh, Law of Arbitration and Conciliation, sixth edition, Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, 2002, p.329

[3] Fuerst Day Lawson Ltd v Jindal Exports Ltd, AIR 2001 SC 2293

[4] Ghanshyam Das v. Domination of India; AIR 1984 SC 1004

[5] 1978 AIR 1608

[6] Chhavi Agarwal, Right To Speedy Trial – Problems And Solutions, Legal Service India, Available at

http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l297-Right-To-Speedy Trial.html#:~:text=Though%20there%20are%20no%20specific,In%20Abdul%20Rehman%20v.,accessed on 03.07.20

[7] P.C Rao & William Sheffield, ADR IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, Universal Law Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd.,1997, pg.316

[8] Supra note 2, pg.341.

[9] Supra note 2, pg.51

[10]1994 SCC (3) 569

[11] Babu Singh v. State of UP, 1978 AIR 527

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