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NEW DELHI: Federal policy thinktank NITI Aayog on Saturday made a strong case for adoption of online dispute resolution as a quicker and more efficient way of dealing with cases at a lower cost.

NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant said that a panel led by justice A.K. Sikri is finalising a report on online dispute resolution which will help in making it the option of first recourse for several categories of claims.

Kant was speaking at the release of a handbook meant to promote adoption of online dispute resolution in the country, prepared by NITI Aayog along with a few other institutions including ICICI Bank and National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).

Kant said that online dispute resolution is a fast-evolving dispute resolution mechanism that uses technology to help proactively access efficient and affordable justice delivery. The handbook is part of NITI Aayog’s overall plan to generate awareness, encourage capacity building and foster the ecosystem for online dispute resolution, Kant said.

Justice DY Chandrachud of Supreme Court of India who spoke on the occasion said, “One of the most important learnings from the past one year of virtual hearing has been that the process can often be far more efficient because of very simple changes—the use of digital file by all parties, the ability to make digital notes and having all documents in one place—in ways that makes them more accessible to everyone. These small changes which improve the efficiency of the proceedings lead to quicker resolution," said Chandrachud.

Online dispute resolution refers to handling disputes outside courts, particularly of small- and medium-value cases, using digital technology and techniques of alternate dispute resolution such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, according to an official statement from NITI Aayog. Online dispute resolution can help resolve disputes efficiently and affordably, the statement said. The ease of dispute resolution is also expected to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

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