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Catalyzing Online Dispute Resolution in India

Catalyzing Online Dispute Resolution in India

NITI Aayog, Agami and Omidyar Network India

 

NITI Aayog, in association with Agami and Omidyar Network India, brought together key stakeholders in a meeting for advancing Online Dispute Resolution(ODR) in India.

 

ODR is the resolution of disputes, particularly small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. While courts are becoming digitized through the efforts of the judiciary, more effective, scalable, and collaborative mechanisms of containment and resolution are urgently needed. ODR can help resolve disputes efficiently and affordably.

 

Senior judges of the Supreme Court, secretariesfrom key government ministries, leaders of industry, legal experts, and general counsels of leading enterprises, explored the opportunities and specifics of what lies ahead.

 

The common theme was a multi-stakeholder agreement to work collaboratively to ensure efforts are taken to scale online dispute resolution in India. Covid-19 has instilled an urgent need for ODR that requires decisive action, with the likelihood of a spurt in disputes before the courts—most notably in lending, credit, property, commerce, and retail. In the coming months, ODR could be the mechanism that helps with achieving expedient resolution.

 

The seminal meeting generated tremendous recognition of the opportunity that ODR presents in India. A multi-stakeholder exercise will be undertaken in the coming weeks to help achieve this in a sustainable, efficient and collaborative manner for the transformation of justice delivery across various facets. Key insights and takeaways from the meeting are set out below.

Key Takeaways

Part 1: Setting the Context 3

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog 3

Part 2: Systems for the Future: Vision of ODR 3

Justice DY Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India: Technology and Access to Justice 3

Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Non-Executive Chairperson, Infosys: the Power of Technology to Expand Capacity and Access 4

Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Law Secretary, Government of India: Technology and Alternative Dispute Resolution 5

Part 3: Unlocking Opportunities for ODR 5

Justice Indu Malhotra, Judge, Supreme Court of India: Potential and Possibilities of Online Dispute Resolution 5

Colin Rule, widely considered the father of ODR, President & CEO, Mediate.com: Global Learnings and Insights 6

Sachin Malhan, Co-founder, Agami: ODR Startup Ecosystem in India 7

Part 4: Overcoming Opportunities for Nationwide ODR 7

Shilpa Kumar, Investment Partner, Omidyar Network India: Opening Remarks and Industry’s Appetite for ODR 7

Pramod Rao, Group General Counsel, ICICI Bank: Overcoming Barriers for the Financial Sector 7

Rajneesh Jaswal, General Counsel, NestAway: Overcoming Barriers in the New Economy 8

Part 5: Enabling Action for Nationwide ODR 8

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Judge, Supreme Court of India: How do we encourage pre-litigation ODR that does not have to come to court first: Feasible Models & Enforceability 8

Justice A K Sikri, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India: How do we encourage pre-litigation ODR that does not have to come to court first: Incentives & Disincentives 9

Rohini Nilekani, Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam: How do we build dispute resolution capacity in society 10

How can the Government best facilitate ODR in India, particularly now? 10

How can the Industry best facilitate ODR in India, particularly now? 11

Part 6: Actionable Outcomes 12

Desh Gaurav Sekhri, OSD (Law), NITI Aayog 12

Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog: Vote of Thanks 12

 

Introduction:

On June 6, 2020, Niti Aayog in partnership with Agami and Omidyar Network India hosted the first ever key stakeholder meeting to advance Online Dispute Resolution in India. Participants involved senior judges of the Supreme Court, secretaries from Government ministries, industry leaders, legal practitioners, general counsels of leading enterprises, etc.

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 processes as a way to enhance access to justice and ease of doing business, by seeing dispute resolution as being one of the key facets to revival of the economy post the pandemic crisis. This document outlines the key excerpts from the talks made by the participants and discussions amongst them.

 

Part 1: Setting the Context

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog

  • Today is historic not just because of the medium by which we are all engaging, but by the sheer calibre of participation, to have such distinguished and diverse participation is in itself extremely encouraging. I'm hopeful that today's meeting is the start of a collaborative exercise, that sets in motion the use of technology towards efficient and affordable access to justice in our post-pandemic response.
  • The pandemic has forced a shift towards solutions that minimise contact and can be activated through technology, including for resolution of disputes. The unfortunate circumstances have integrated the crucial role of technology in allowing remote contactless support to daily work roles, flagging its importance to a flat and affordable form of access to justice. Progressive and disruptive changes in justice delivery are critical components and they can alter the course of access to justice in an unprecedented way. Each arm of the Indian system is working towards a solution-driven future and that is where the change will be visible.
 

Part 2: Systems for the Future: Vision of ODR

Justice DY Chandrachud, Judge, Supreme Court of India, on Technology and Access to Justice

  • The question today is how well can we adopt technology to enhance access to justice and strengthen rule of law. Technology can be disruptive and there is a technological divide in India. We should use technology to promote a sense of inclusive justice, justice for which the system is meant to deliver a service.
  • Parameters of ODR:
    • Technology to promote user confidence in the process
    • Incorporate elements of design thinking to understand user needs for an ODR platform
    • Employ data management tools to ensure predictability, consistency, transparency, and efficiency of the judicial process
  • Overall, we need a fundamental change in mindset – dispute resolution to be seen not as a court where justice is administered, but as a service which is availed of.
  • Commercial dispute resolution has certain important values which must sub serve the usual court system – and that is the importance of ODR in technology. (1) Process to be participative (2) Party autonomy
  • ODR to have a multi-pronged, multi sectoral initiative that focuses on:
    • Dispute resolution: resolving disputes that reach the courts through open, efficient, transparent process
    • Dispute containment: Only those disputes that require judicial resolution should reach the courts. Matters which do not require judicial resolution shouldn't reach the courts at all.
    • Dispute avoidance: Facilitate and ensure through ODR that a problem does not reach the stage of a dispute. This would ensure a problem does not become a dispute.
  • Process automation is minimal use of technology. Use technology to transform avoiding and containing disputes, and resolve if necessary.
  • There is a difference between pre litigation ODR and court annexed mediation. Parties are entrenched at the time of court-annexed mediation. Prelitigation ODR is even before a dispute has reached the stage of a dispute. ODR can step in before erosion of trust takes place between the parties, and before partners become adversaries.
  • Responsibility of all the stakeholders:
    • The providers of technology enabled services: The tech enabled service providers create a platform where parties can be made aware of their rights, the remedies which are available to them, and create facilities for negotiation and mediation with neutrals.
    • Professional bodies: who will offer trained personnel. They could be law firms on a standalone basis, or as a consortium of service providers.
    • Industry: The industry must internalise dispute containment and dispute avoidance, perhaps by introducing contractual clauses, which mandate the requirement of going to mediation or negotiation before accessing any legal remedies.
    • Governments and courts: Important to understand where disputes arise, what aggravates them, what mitigates them. Open API’s to unlock creativity and entrepreneurial energy of private sector players in the judicial process. The Government can also identify disputes most suitable for ODR. This is an opportunity for the Government to employ objective AI tools to aid government litigation.
  • Create mechanisms for incentives and disincentives for taking recourse to ODR. And finally, in the short term, in the context of COVID, we have to create incentives for recourse to ODR by recognizing the role of private, voluntary ODR by encouraging businesses to seek recourse to ODR technology.

 

Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Non-Executive Chairperson, Infosys on the Power of Technology to Expand Capacity and Access

  • Use ODR processes to stem the flow of adversarial cases reaching the court system: Applying ODR to reduce the load on the judicial system. Particularly in the coming months, where we will see an increase in the number of commercial and financial disputes, ODR systems can take charge.
  • ODR as an advance guard to what is possible in the future of courts: Value of ODR is to try the innovations within the private ODR framework, and integrate ODR processes into formal court processes after seeing the success of these innovations in a more adaptable and flexible framework.
  • Identify high volume repeatable disputes suitable for ODR: Disputes arising out of Motor Vehicles Act, cheque bouncing, insurance claims can be resolved through ODR to reduce the backlog and pendency.
  • Data for law reform: Using disputes data (from both ODR and judicial processes) as a feedback loop to improve the quality of law making
  • Hybrid Model: A hybrid model of courts (& virtual courts) & ODR would be a steady state of dispute resolution. To combine technology with the most thoughtful, equitable way to enhance justice for all.

 

Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Law Secretary, Government of India, on Technology and Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • The aim is to provide an affordable, accessible, and effective ODR and the concern remains how can the Government and various stakeholders can facilitate ODR.
  • At a time when technology plays a crucial role, ODR is much more than replicating the existing process of ADR online. The objective is to contain and resolve disputes also using analytical insights.
  • For a transformative impact, we need to develop digital infrastructure to reach the masses, and we also need a change in mindsets. The statutory framework would also require some incidental changes.
  • Identify disputes suitable for ODR. Collaboration between ODR centres and public institutions could be explored for Motor Accident Claims Tribunals, banking disputes, service disputes, etc.
  • The Government is open minded and shall help alleviate concerns regarding ODR. Functioning between the private ODR players and the ADR providers needs to be complemented to ensure that online resolution can reach the different industries, locations and parts of the country and also support the public institutions in a big way.
 

Part 3: Unlocking Opportunities for ODR

Justice Indu Malhotra, Judge, Supreme Court of India, on the Potential and Possibilities of Online Dispute Resolution

  • ODR which was at an infancy stage in India, has now acquired greater importance due to COVID19.
  • Advantage of ODR is that it will provide expeditious resolution of disputes. Further it is far less expensive, and economical as well.
  • So far, India has followed the opt-in model, which means that option of going into mediation is voluntary. Italian model, by contrast, is the opt-out model, under which it is mandatory to enter into mediation for at least one session, and then the parties have the liberty to opt out if they feel so.
  • A hybrid of the two may be more successful for India, because the opt-in model may defeat the purpose of mediation. It should be made mandatory, and should cover about three sessions, otherwise the parties may treat it as a mere formality, and opt-out after the first session is over. A hybrid of the opt-in opt-out model may work better for India.
  • Another area which has great potential for dispute resolution through the ODR mechanism are IBC disputes. ADR modes should be used by creditors and debtors to resolve issues in the shadow of insolvency, particularly now post COVID19. Low volume, high volume cases could be referred to online dispute resolution
  • A scheme similar to the Hong Kong ODR Scheme for the MSME sector could be formulated for India for commercial disputes having high volume and low-value transactions.
  • The need of the hour today is to develop a robust ODR platform, which is easily accessible, user-friendly, less expensive and efficient for resolution of disputes.

 

Colin Rule, Global ODR pioneer, President & CEO, Mediate.com on Global Learnings and Insights

  • In terms of India building this ecosystem, I don't think that India is missing much. I mean, the world looks to India for leadership in terms of technology, and I think even this meeting is a sign that India is far ahead of the curve in understanding and having experts and decision makers within the system who know exactly what's coming around the bend.
  • Online dispute resolution has been developing for 20 years yet the COVID crisis has thrown us into the world of ODR overnight.
  • Learnings from ODR projects across the world:
    • The best way to create a successful ODR environment is to build a market for resolutions. For example, 98% of the cases filed in civil courts don’t go in front of a Judge in the US because those cases are resolved prior to a case being formally filed.
    • Build an effective ODR ecosystem that requires a private, autonomous ecosystem of resolution options, where the private sector can generate many options to pursue redressal for different types of cases.
    • Resolution is more effective, particularly pre-litigation redress, is much more scalable and efficient in resolving cases.
    • Public entities don’t have a competitive pressure, and will not be under the pressure to innovate. The appropriate role is for states and governments to accredit and promote an ecosystem of resolution options. Example: ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Program.
  • "Fitting the Forum to the Fuss": ODR platforms are providing a multi-door courthouse.
  • This whole ecosystem is going to be overseen, and particularly promoted by public bodies. There needs to be standards to ensure that the processes are truly impartial, fair, easy to access, and secure.
  • Transparency ensures visibility into outcomes for individual performance of ODR players to be monitored, audited, and recertified. ICODR has crafted best practices.
  • Individual providers may fail. And that's not a bad thing. Creative destruction in this ecosystem is healthy, because the overall marketplace will remain strong, and it will ensure that innovation will continue.
  • India is not missing much. It needs:
    • An explicit recognition that there is no problem with online redressal processes, on enforceability, and clarify options relating to pre-litigation ODR.
    • Thought leaders to speak out and embrace and talk about the benefits of the use of particularly pre litigation, private ODR.
    • Courts and Government should use incentives to nudge parties towards ODR and make clear that if they go through that process, even if they fail, the judges will look positively upon it.

 

Sachin Malhan, Co-founder, Agami on ODR Startup Ecosystem in India

  • In India today, we have a really robust ecosystem of the leading startups in the space.
  • We have a really nice portfolio of startups that have been working for over two years now on developing solutions. Some of them have introduced solutions that are industry-specific. The important thing is they've been learning a lot about those kinds of disputes.
  • These founders met three times in the last year alone to look at issues of how do you support each other, how do you develop standards? These startup entrepreneurs will show up with the appetite to regulate effectively, the appetite to maintain high quality, and they could professionalize themselves with the support of more established centres that have credibility and expertise for many, many years.
  • Indians have never had a lack of entrepreneurship assistance or problem-solving. We just need clarity and encouragement. And I think the startups can scale access to justice and ease of doing business if they received that encouragement and that clarity. There's not a lot that needs to be provided. That's the nature of Indian entrepreneurship.
 

Part 4: Overcoming Opportunities for Nationwide ODR

Shilpa Kumar, Investment Partner, Omidyar Network India, Opening Remarks and Industry’s Appetite for ODR

  • Disputes are a way of life. But the manner in which they get resolved can really enhance customer trust, customer retention, and the meaningful life that every person can have because when things go wrong. Largely because many often disputes are due to misunderstandings, lack of information or knowledge.
  • In 2019, India Inc spent around $6 billion on legal expenses, and using technology to reduce costs or resolve disputes is significant and ODR can play that role.
  • Dispute is really your best intelligence, and can tell you what needs to be fixed, to eventually have fewer disputes going forward.
  • COVID is an opportunity to test ODR, and cut down cost, time, and improve efficiencies for both individuals as well as businesses.

 

Pramod Rao, Group General Counsel, ICICI Bank, on Overcoming Barriers for the Financial Sector

  • Most existing contracts do not have arbitration / ODR clauses, and amending the contracts, particularly in COVID, is all the more challenging. A big step that the governments can take is exempting from levy of stamp duty, the amendment to contracts, when such amendment is to specify ODR clause, as also the awards which emerge from such ODR institutions.
  • A substantial majority of contracts that do have an arbitration clause specify that the arbitrator will be appointed by one of the contracting party, in contradiction to the Perkins Eastman ruling of the Supreme Court. A general order from the Supreme Court (on the lines adopted for extending limitation) to the extent that contracts with arbitration clauses impacted by Perkins can instead specify an ODR institution which will appoint the arbitrator will be helpful to balance the interest of the parties and advance the ODR platforms too.
  • The judiciary can refer pending matters to ODR platforms for dispute resolution. Lok Adalats must be encouraged to utilize ODR platforms to conduct online Lok Adalats. NALSA and state legal services authorities can be encouraged to engage with ODR institutions. This way, courts can focus on urgent matters. Practitioners and lawyers can focus on the more important cases particularly now, and it will enhance the livelihood of lawyers who can engage as neutrals on these ODR platforms.
  • Court-mandated mediation under the Commercial Courts Act and the Consumer Protection Act can be hosted on ODR platforms for far more consistent and deeper reach across the Indian society.
  • Extending the use of ODR platforms for undertaking bankruptcy process for individuals under the IBC may also be considered, which would be far easier and convenient given the multiple ODR institutions.
  • Adopting ODR can promote India up the ease of doing business index and also enhance the enforceability of contracts. ODR can supplement Indian judiciary, supplement the judicial justice delivery system, and democratize access to dispute resolution using ADR tools and technology.

 

Rajneesh Jaswal, General Counsel, NestAway on Overcoming Barriers in the New Economy

  • ODR for customer retention as an extension of customer service. To make sure you are doing right by yourself as well as the customer. Benefits of ODR also include saving on costs and time.
  • If the customers aren’t happy with customer service, provide them with mediation and arbitration – see it as a customer journey, to keep the customers happy and expenses low.
  • Request the Government to consider a repository of arbitral and mediation settlements/awards, where all of these awards are locked in, with a reference number and the parties to the dispute, judiciary and government will have access to wherever these cases are locked.
  • Experience with ODR so far has been outstanding, and is a sign of times to come.
 

Part 5: Enabling Action for Nationwide ODR

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Judge, Supreme Court of India, How do we encourage pre-litigation ODR that does not have to come to court first: Feasible Models and Enforceability

  • Litigants do want their disputes resolved expeditiously. Today, we can benefit from people having learnt from mediation and set up private mediation institutions, and is the time to rope in private mediation platforms along with court annexed mediation.
  • Platforms must ensure that the various steps and processes of mediation can happen online, and ensure confidentiality for people to trust the process.
  • While the current unforeseen situation is unpalatable, we can make good of difficult situations. Resolving COVID related disputes should be of importance, and ODR can be employed for those purposes. Eventually, ODR can be employed for other cases, including personal disputes. ODR is most suitable for commercial disputes.
  • Identify methodology for Government to settle some of the Government litigation, to ensure clarity and predictability for the Government officers to do so.
  • Inspiration can be drawn from the Hong Kong Government model of introducing an ODR scheme for MSME, and an “opt-out” model will work better in the Indian context than an “opt-in” model where parties would be hesitant to experiment with mediation.
  • Opt-out model compels the parties to sit together, which enables parties to resolve disputes., after which they can explore mediation and arbitration. Italian model that requires people to approach mediation before filing a case will be useful to the initiation of mediation in India.
  • Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, headed by Justice Nariman, J. Malhotra and myself as its members have taken an initiative of constituting a committee to draft a possible central legislation for mediation which can be proposed to the central government. This Committee has representation from expert lawyers mediators with proposed consultation with some expert foreign mediators based in Singapore and U.S, and the whole process should be complete very soon.
  • Everybody, including the Government is concerned because of the unfortunate situation that we must resolve disputes. In fact, this resolution of disputes is part of the economic revival.

 

Justice A K Sikri, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India, How do we encourage pre-litigation ODR that does not have to come to court first: Incentives & Disincentives

  • Two crucial things that are necessary is to identify what kind of cases can be decided at pre-litigation stage, and the incentives and disincentives which can be provided to boost the pre-litigation mediation.
  • Disputes can be resolved by ADR mechanism, and public-private partnership is required. This will go a long way in deciding disputes at a pre-litigation stage.
  • There are three buckets to be mindful of:
    • Kinds of cases where pre litigation mediation is imperative: It is not possible to go to courts for problems arising out of transactions over e-commerce companies. In house mechanisms create trust in the consumers that grievances will be settled, particularly through mediation, online mediation.
    • Bulk cases such as cheque bounce cases are suitable for online dispute resolution and pre-litigation mediation.
    • Gradually insolvency disputes, commercial and property disputes can also be resolved through pre litigation mediation
  • We have to ensure ODR startups can resolve disputes without glitches, and ensure confidence, transparency and the fair procedure.
  • Main advantages of ODR are that ODR is convenient, accurate and time saving and cost saving.
  • First thing which is to be done is to create awareness not only amongst the lawyer community but also among the consumers, the consumers of justice, about the advantages of pre litigation mediation. Awareness with the legal community about how this is an opportunity for them to grow too, and not see this as threat to practitioners.
  • Incentives need to be created for ODR. For instance, we can borrow from provisions in England where if you are reluctant to go to mediation or you are non-cooperative there, then even when the case comes back to the court, even if you succeed, you will not get the cost. Alternatively tax incentives can be provided. These provisions ensure that parties opt for pre litigation ODR.

 

Rohini Nilekani, Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, How do we build dispute resolution capacity in society

  • Look at Samaj in the continuum of Samaj, Bazaar and Sarkar. Access to justice is a cornerstone of the health of samaaj.
  • Mediation, ADR, and now ODR are a peek into what the future holds in terms of preventing conflicts from escalating, reaching the courts and staying in the courts for years in our justice system. ODR is a real opportunity to reduce pendency.
  • We see the cultural shift of moving online already happening, particularly with the young people in Indian society.
  • Need to continue building capacity of people, police, litigants, court, lawyers, civil society, business, especially business, to also look at the potential of conflict prevention, of litigation prevention.
  • There is an opportunity for civil society to engage in building the societal muscle to resolve conflicts and parallelly efforts to reduce digital divide must continue to move faster towards having universal access to justice and dignity.

How can the Government best facilitate ODR in India, particularly now?

Moderator: Arghya Sengupta, Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy

 

Dr. M S Sahoo, Chairperson, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India

  • Fresh Start Processes for individual insolvency may happen through ODR. We cannot expect people with income less than Rs. 40000 or Rs. 50000, where the chance of recovery is low, to be able to approach the 25 Debt Recovery Tribunals we have across the country.
  • For corporate insolvency, there is scope to provide online dispute resolution processes, out of court settlements, for small and micro enterprises.

 

Dr SS Sandhu, Chairperson, NHAI

  • Since COVID, NHAI arbitration and constitution committee to resolve disputes has moved online. Encouraged by the response, particularly in being able to resolve disputes, save time and resources.
  • Challenges that members are facing are due to infrastructure and bandwidth issues, and issues relating to training. NHAI is looking into investing in the infrastructure to ensure processes happen online.
  • Will also look into employing online mechanisms before offline mechanisms going forward.

 

Deepak Bagla, Managing Director & CEO, Invest India

  • Every meeting over the last five years with investors, dispute resolution has been on top of the agenda. ODR is imperative, and we don’t have too much time to begin work.
  • Need to recognize the need to strengthen the infrastructure, establish laws to scale ODR now when the investor community is looking at opportunities to de risk business.
  • Enabling online dispute resolution will facilitate ease of doing business, and move us up the Ease of Doing Business ranking even further.

 

Ashish Aggarwal, Head of Policy, NASSCOM

  • According to a survey being run by NASSCOM, around 110 companies mentioned that approximately 200 crores is stuck domestically largely due to disputes.
  • There is a massive opportunity for ODR, and we should focus on implementing dispute containment effectively. It may involve working with the Ministry of Electronics and IT to finalize a Government advisory in the form of a model RFP. Dispute containment will also allow us to understand the pain points – payment terms, scope of contract, completion of work, etc better.
  • We may need to look at mandating ODR and providing incentives for unlocking ODR to benefit the companies and also encourage innovation.

 

How can the Industry best facilitate ODR in India, particularly now?

Moderator: Rahul Matthan, Founder and Partner, Trilegal

 

Chittu Nagarajan, Founder, CREK ODR

  • Industries should commit to implementing innovative online dispute resolution mechanisms and make the decisions to institutionalize dispute resolution processes. For example: eBay in the US, and ICICI in India institutionalizing ODR.

 

Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate

  • Employing ODR as a mechanism or a system to help resolve consumer disputes, particularly for small businesses. Can integrate ODR into existing statutory provisions in Commercial Courts Act for expeditious disposal of cases.

 

Shuva Mandal, Group General Counsel, TATA Sons

  • We require a cultural shift in the ecosystem of dispute resolution in India, starting with moving from a verbal advocacy to written advocacy.
  • Disincentivize parties from going to courts by imposing costs if they opt to go to courts instead of ADR/ODR

 

Vipul Sharma, COO, MakeMyTrip

  • Identification of trusted, neutral third party / neutrals is crucial to lend credibility to the ODR process, and not be seen as another step in the legal process.

 

Nitin Banerjee, Group General Counsel, OLA

  • Confidentiality and data security: Whether the process could open a floodgate or a different kind of ramification which is a concern to them.
  • OLA has adopted ODR internationally because (i) it is statute mandated (ii) there is an extreme confidence of the ODR processes/ecosystem and (iii) COVID19 has created new norms in the international market to resolve disputes online.
  • Concerns in India: (i) whether ODR is an effective dispute resolution mechanism and (ii) confidentiality and data security is a concern
  • Confidence boost needed to employ ODR:
    • For the ODR platforms to be commercially relevant, commercially oriented, and understand the commercial nuances. Example: OLA is not a transport service provider but a technology company
    • Collaborative effort and zeal to implement is needed to boost confidence. The leadership and key stakeholders in this room provide that much needed encouragement to adopt ODR.

 

Rajesh Bansal, Senior Adviser, Carnegie India

  • At a time when we have 3 billion day payments and 500 million ATM transactions every month, automation of disputes resolution should be considered. Automation of dispute resolution is also possible with existing data, for example employing AI and previous judgments to automate cheque bouncing cases.

 

Ajay Kapur, Former Deputy Managing Director, SIDBI

  • Adopting ODR to increase customer/consumer confidence in doing business online.
  • Opportunity for the Government to ensure legality and enforceability of digital contracts, including stamp duty concerns.
 

Part 6: Actionable Outcomes

Desh Gaurav Sekhri, OSD (Law), NITI Aayog: Actionable Outcomes

  • One thing that emerges from the meeting today is that everybody is on the same page. We've seen broad consensus from judiciary, participants from the government side and from industry. The message is quite clear, collaboration is the way forward and we have to do our best to push ODR to whatever extent possible.
  • We must create a new movement of dispute resolution processes that can contribute dramatically to building self-reliant and collaborative systems. The meeting has provided a practitioners perspective and also shows the way forward to how we can actually make ODR a regular feature for industry.
  • Through ODR we will actually be able to substantively facilitate the ease of doing business. At the same time we can really have access to and delivery of affordable justice.

 

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog: Vote of Thanks

  • There have been some amazing insights and suggestions made by several speakers today.
  • And we will take all of these into consideration when framing the final action plan. Through a combination of several factors, we are on the cusp of transformative changes. Technology will play a crucial role in both equity and affordability.
  • These are difficult times but opportunities exist to alleviate some of the setbacks, especially in justice delivery.