Alternate dispute resolution

THE National Assembly Friday passed the “Alternate Dispute Resolution Bill 2017” aimed at facilitating settlement of disputes without resorting to formal litigation including moving the court. Law Minister Zahid Hamid described the legislation important and historic and in accordance with the PML-N manifesto.
There is no denying the fact that the judicial system in vogue has miserably failed to deliver, generating utter frustration among the general public. The system has become so complicated, cumbersome, costly and corrupt that most of the people who are wronged do not knock at the doors of courts. This is because in the first place, citizens are teased and fleeced by Police and when the cases reach the courtroom then it proves to be beginning of financial and physical loot and fatigue. Cases do not move ahead even in the presence of clear circumstances and evidence and people do not get justice even for decades. It is all the more regrettable that litigants are forced to spend hugely and also waste their time even in cases involving petty matters. Such matters also add to the burden of the judiciary, which finds it next to impossible to do justice even with important cases. It is because of this that there has been longstanding demand that an alternative system of dispute resolution should be put in place but no action was taken by any Government. PML-N deserves credit for moving towards this direction, albeit belatedly. It is good that the new system would be compulsorily applicable to 23 types of cases and will have components of conciliation, arbitration and panchayat. However, involvement of former judges and lawyers with the new system would mean making it almost similar to the formal system that is not delivering. Panchayats should consist of people of good reputation and impeccable character and procedure should be as simple as possible like redressal of grievances by the Ombudsman.

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