Online Dispute Resolution

Ministry of Law and Justice Press release dated 25 March 2022

The concept of Online Dispute Resolution(ODR) in India is at a nascent stage. In order to create an effective implementation framework for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India, the NITI Aayog had constituted a high level committee in June 2020under the chairmanship ofJustice A K Sikri, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India. The Committee was required to develop an action plan that can aid in mainstreaming ODR and thus promote access to justice through ODR.

The report of the committee titled “Designing the future of dispute Resolution: the ODR Policy Plan for India” was released on 29.11.2021.  The report recommends measures at three levels to tackle challenges in adopting ODR framework in India.

  1. 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.
  2. At the behavioural level, the report recommends adoption of ODR to address disputes involving Government departments and ministries.
  3. 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.

The Government of India has already initiatedthe steps to strengthen ODR mechanisms in the country.  Acknowledging the importance of online dispute resolution, it has been proposed to provide for online mediation under the Mediation Bill, 2021 which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 20.12.2021. The online mediation is to be conducted in accordance with the process specified by the Mediation Council of India. The Bill ispresently under examination of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice. 

This information was given by Shri Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Law and Justice, in Lok Sabha today.

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