Topic of the Day - Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution, or external dispute resolution, typically denotes a wide range of dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement.

It is an important concept with respect to the polity segment of the IAS Exams.

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What is an Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a technique to resolve disputes and disagreements between the parties by arriving at an amenable settlement through negotiations and discussions. It is an attempt to establish an alternative mechanism other than the traditional methods of dispute resolutions. The ADR mechanism offers to facilitate the resolution of matters of business issues and the others where it has not been possible to initiate any process of negotiation or arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.

In India, ADR is established on the basis of Article 14 (Equality before law) and Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) under the Constitution of India. The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) of Equal justice and free legal aid as engraved in Article 39-A of the Indian Constitution can also be achieved by the ADR.

Aspirants can check out the following links for further details –

  1. Right to Life (Article 21 of the Indian Constitution)
  2. Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP)
  3. Preamble Decoded – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity & Justice

Types of Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanisms

Various Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms can be classified as:

  1. Arbitration
  2. Conciliation
  3. Mediation
  4. Judicial Settlements inclusive of Lok Adalats
  5. Negotiations


Under this form of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism, both the parties involved in the dispute, choose the person to hear and determine their dispute through a consensus. The objective of arbitration is to arrive at a fair resolution through an unbiased tribunal speedily and in a cost-effective manner.

Go through the following links in relation to Arbitration –

  1. The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill
  2. Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)


Under the process of conciliation, the intention is to facilitate the settlement between the parties. The parties, however, are not obliged or are not bound by the conciliation, in a sense that negotiations can be carried out until the parties arrive at a mutually pleasing settlement. The process is handled by an impartial individual termed as the conciliator. He is an active participant in the process of conciliation and is involved in discussing the issues, negotiating and bringing about an amicable settlement.


A mediator is involved in assisting the parties in dispute to reach an agreement. The parties in dispute themselves set the conditions of the settlement to be reached. The third-party does not impose any decisions on the parties but merely acts as a facilitator involved in improving the dialogue between the parties.

Lok Adalats

The establishment of Lok Adalat system of dispute settlement system was brought about with the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 for expediting the system of dispute settlement. In Lok Adalats, disputes in the pre-litigation stage could be settled amicably.

Read more on, Lokpal & Lokayuktas: RSTV – The Big Picture on the linked page.


It is the most common method of alternative dispute resolution. A non-binding procedure in which discussions between the parties are initiated without the intervention of any third party with the object of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the dispute. Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life.

Aspirants can go through the following links to do comprehensive preparation of the upcoming Civil Services Examinations-

Insolvency And Bankruptcy Code (IBC 2016) Non Performing Assets (NPA) NALSA – National Legal Services Authority of India
S4A Scheme- Aims, Significance & Limitations Disinvestment Policy in India and DIPAM  Strategic Disinvestment: Facts, Importance
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – FCRA 2020 Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)  Difference between FERA and FEMA in India

Alternative Dispute Resolution in India

  • Lok Adalat or “people’s court” comprises an informal setting that facilitates negotiations in the presence of a judicial officer wherein cases are dispensed without undue emphasis on legal technicalities. The order of the Lok-Adalat is final and binding on the parties, and is not appealable in a court of law.
  • Procedure for plea-bargaining was included in the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2005.
What is Plea Bargaining?

Plea-bargaining is best described as a “pre-trial negotiation between the accused and the prosecution during which the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecution

  • The Legal Services Authorities Act was passed in 1987 to encourage out-of-court settlements, and the new Arbitration and Conciliation Act was enacted in 1996.

Advantages of Alternation Dispute Resolutions ADR

  • It is more viable, economic, and efficient because the procedural flexibility saves valuable time and money and there is no stress of a conventional trial
  • Helping maintain confidentiality as the resolution of disputes takes place usually in private.
  • The possibility of ensuring that specialized expertise is available on the tribunal in the person of the arbitrator, mediator, conciliator, or neutral adviser.
  • The result is often creative solutions, sustainable outcomes, greater satisfaction, and improved relationships.
  • Further, it offers greater direct control over the outcome. Personal relationships may also suffer less.

Frequently asked Questions about Alternative Dispute Resolution


What are the four types of Alternative Dispute Resolution?

The most common types of Alternative Dispute Resolution for civil cases are mediation, settlement conferences, neutral evaluation, and arbitration.

What is the fastest growing method of alternative dispute resolution?

Mediation is the fastest growing method of ADR. Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party, the mediator, assists the parties in considering options for settlement of their dispute.

For more UPSC related preparation materials and articles, visit the links given in the table below:

Related Links

UPSC Books UPSC Monthly Current Affairs Magazine NCERT Notes For UPSC
Capital of Magadha RSTV News Result of Revolt of 1857
RAS Syllabus in Hindi Power and Function of Prime minister Lowest Rainfall in India


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