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"Encourage alternative dispute resolution"

ANOTHER OPTION: Britain's first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond, lights a traditional lamp as Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan (left) and Minister for Law and Justice H. R. Bhardwaj look on at the International Conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Special Correspondent

Balakrishnan's call to legal fraternity to overcome congestion, lack of manpower

Globalisation demands speedy mechanismDelay in disposal of cases a challenge: Bhardwaj

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Saturday stressed the need to look at better options and avenues to overcome congestion in courts; lack of adequate manpower and resources, and participatory roles; cost, and rigidity of procedure.

The globalisation of economy and the complexities of modern commercial transactions demanded a speedy and effective mechanism for resolving domestic and international disputes, he said.

This resulted in non-judicial ways of dispute resolution such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation and negotiation. "India has a rich judicial system, but the country's social and economic scene has undergone a sea change and the people are now more aware of their legal rights."

Mr. Justice Balakrishnan appealed to the legal fraternity to meet the new challenges with the stress on alternative dispute resolution.

He was inaugurating an international conference on "Alternative dispute resolution," organised by the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) here.

Union Law and Justice Minister H.R. Bhardwaj said the Indian legal and judicial systems stood on a strong edifice. But delay in disposal of cases posed a challenge. The ICADR was established in the capital to effectively implement the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond said courts were not in a position to bear the entire burden of the justice system. A number of disputes lent themselves to resolution by alternative modes, which not only saved time and money but also avoided the stress of conventional trial.

Citing examples of alternative dispute resolution in the British judicial system, she explained its usefulness to society. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said alternative dispute resolution should aim at speedy and low-cost justice to the people.