Sunday, August 8, 2010

Online Dispute Resolution In India

Online dispute resolution (ODR) is one of the most effective methods of dispute resolution. However, in the absence of international harmonisation and lack of technical expertise, ODR has still not achieved what it could have achieved.

Online dispute resolution in India (ODR in India) is not even at its infancy stage. In fact, it does not exist at all. This is so because the legislature of India is not very comfortable with technology related issues.

For instance, information and communication technology (ICT) has not been a part of either the legal system of India or the judicial system of India. Till August 2010 India does not has even a single e-court.

Lawyers and judges are neither conversant nor very comfortable with the ICT related issues and technology laws. Very few of them are aware about the cyber law of India. They are also not aware of the benefits of ICT and e-governance in the sound legal and judicial purposes.

So much so that we at Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) are managing the exclusive e-courts training and consultancy Centre of India. This initiative is very comprehensive in nature and would strengthen the e-courts in India and ODR in India.

However, the ultimate call is for the Law Minister Veerappa Moily to take. For some reasons he has not considered the use of ICT for legal and judicial reforms of India. Even the National Litigation Policy of India (NLPI) suggested by him lacks ICT strengthening.

India needs to take care of many aspects if it wishes to become an Arbitration Hub of the World. It cannot expect to be the same for international commercial arbitration till it adopts both technology as well as an effective legislative framework.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 urgently needs suitable amendments, perhaps a reenactment, keeping in mind the contemporary requirements and International standards.

India has waited for a long and it is high time for it to take some real, effective and actual steps in the directions of international commercial arbitration, ODR and e-courts.