Author:- Shruti Gupta, 4BA LLB, Christ (Deemed to be University) Delhi- NCR


In the modern world, one of the most worrying things is the number of cases pending. The Indian judiciary is under immense strain as a result, and many people experience unfairness, hardship, and believe that the court is less able to provide prompt justice and resolve matters within a set timeframe. Over 4.7 million cases are still outstanding, according to the May 2022 report. The Bombay High Court’s temporary chief judge, S V Gangapurwala, has expressed concerns over “docket exclusion,” which is the practice of people refusing to appear in court to file grievances and being denied justice as a result of the court’s excessively delayed delivery. The Chief Justice considered this issue and advised attorneys to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system as a means of resolving this matter.

Docket exclusion was developed in reaction to the overwhelming volume of cases that courts had to handle as well as the realisation that traditional litigation was occasionally the most effective means of resolving disputes. The goal of docket exclusion is to send some cases to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes, which are usually seen as more effective, less expensive, and capable of maintaining parties’ relationships. Docket exclusion has acknowledged the value of independence for parties by giving them the freedom to select the best course of action for settling their dispute. ADR procedures provide for more party engagement and supervision, which might increase satisfaction with the decision.


The efficient and cost-effective way to settle legal issues is through alternative dispute resolution, or ADR. In order to avoid going to court, it provides alternative conflict resolution methods. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provides a way to resolve any type of conflict where parties are unable to communicate and reach a resolution, such as civil, commercial, industrial, and family issues. In order to help the parties communicate, settle disputes, and have discussions, a neutral third party is used in this situation. The number of court cases filed in India has significantly grown, creating a backlog of cases and heightened need for alternative dispute resolution (ADR). 


It  is recommended to use ADR because it lessens the mental and emotional stress of attending the trial. It is a more effective method of dispute resolution than Arbitration, Conciliation, Mediation, Negotiation, and Lok Adalat. By using this approach, the trial courts are less burdened and justice may be delivered to those who need it most urgently. Practicality and flexibility are the key features of ADR. With these features disputes can be resolved without occurrence of conflict between the two parties. Docket exclusion is then taken into consideration as ADR will solve this problem. ADR is more efficient, faster and streamlined, enabling faster resolution. Burden of cases can be reduced by transferring cases for mediation, negotiation etc. This helps the court to act more expeditiously and cautiously. With this approach, parties can come up with their own creative means of settling conflicts while cooperating in good faith. According to Section 89 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 it provides opportunity to people, gives people the opportunity to settle their disputes out of court. If the court determines that there are elements of a settlement that can be reached outside of court, it will formulate the terms of the potential settlement and refer the case to arbitration, conciliation, mediation, Lok Adalat, etc. ADR also strives for free legal aid and equal justice in compliance with Directive Principle of State Policy (DPSP) Article 39-A.  The Legal Services Authority Act of 1987 is one of the laws that supports the use of ADR. This provision lessens the load of the court by allowing someone who cannot afford legal representation to go to Lok Adalat to settle their problems. The Supreme Court ruled in M.V. Baltic Confidence v. State Trading Corporation of India Ltd. that the parties’ intention to engage into an arbitration agreement should be taken into account, even if the language of the clause is unclear. ADR procedures are maintained private and confidential in a number of processes, including mediation and bargaining. Confidentiality is particularly important when parties want to maintain their privacy. One of the important methods of ADR is mediation. Mediation can be particularly important when any business or family disputes had to be preserved. In this method, without concern over the terms and conditions of a third party, both the parties involved in the dispute can settle the dispute between them by agreeing on 

their own terms. On an average, 90% of lawsuits are settled out of court. If that was the case, using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a simpler, faster, and more inexpensive option to get the parties to where they are most likely to end up.


However, ADR is always less effective at resolving disputes. It is only considered an alternative rather than the primary method of settling disputes. It is never an effective or preferred method to settle disputes. In the case of Afcons Infrastructure and Ors. v. Cherian Verkay Construction and Ors., the chapter of ADR was seen as coming to an end. The Hon’ble Supreme Court lists the categories of cases that are not suitable for settlement through ADR. 

  1. Suits referred to in Order I, Rule 8 CPC, involving the public interest or the interests of many non-parties before the court 
  2. Election disputes as to public offices 
  3. cases involving significant and specific accusations of forgery, coercion, impersonation, fraud, or document fabrication under the Indian Penal Code. 
  4. Cases requiring special protection from the courts, such as claims against juveniles, deities, and people with mental disabilities, as well as declaration of title actions brought against the government 
  5. Proceedings that involve prosecution for criminal offences 

With many advantages to this method, there are some disadvantages that restrict the free usage of ADR. The side with the most resources and power will frequently be able to sway the result. This discrepancy can be to their advantage. There is no assurance that the dispute will be resolved because the parties may still decide to pursue legal action and hold a judge-led trial. A decision taken in mediation is final, whereas in court, an appeal can be made again.Without full disclosure of the facts, disputes between parties might develop and result in poor decisions. ADR is not always suitable; clients may require the intervention of the court in the resolution of conflicts. These procedures are more informal than judicial proceedings. Sometimes the order given by ADR is not binding on the parties. Once the award announced by the ADR is final, all matters will be decided on that basis. Similarly, in the case of Satish Kumar & Ors v. Surinder Kumar & Ors, it talked about Section 35, which discussed the binding nature of arbitral awards. The Supreme Court ruled that the only basis for determining the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to those claims after the judgement becomes final is that, by following the aforementioned award, no further legal action can be taken regarding the original claim that formed the basis of the arbitration In ADR, the case might not be a good fit because alternative dispute resolution usually mainly deals with financial or legal issues. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes rarely create legal precedents that may be used to guide future cases. The results and agreements made through ADR often remain private and are not made public, which reduces their usefulness as precedents. Typically, in court, you may depend on a long-standing precedent to assist, decide, and direct how the procedure should go, but with ADR, precedents are frequently only recommendations. Due to the absence of legal precedents, decisions may be inconsistent, and the meaning and application of the law may be ambiguous. ADR users often make the common mistake of assuming that the costs will be modest; they are not. When you consider that, in contrast to the court system, you must pay for the neutrals’ time, the meeting or hearing space, the service administering the process, along with your lawyers, travel, finding fees, etc., it may be quite costly. Furthermore, the expense may be far greater than either side expected if the hearings get postponed because of a dispute with scheduling or an illness. The problem of docket exclusion will be exacerbated in these circumstances, and parties in these cases should opt for court rather than ADR. Though docket exclusion is commonly employed for referring cases to alternative dispute resolution, it’s crucial to acknowledge that not all situations are appropriate for ADR.  ADR may not always be the ideal or optimal way to resolve a dispute, which calls into question the idea of implementing it for docket exclusion. Parties must take an active role in the ADR process, such as mediation or negotiation, if they want it to be successful. However, in circumstances where there is a large power disparity between the parties, such as in situations of domestic abuse or job discrimination, the disadvantaged party may experience pressure or coercion to accept an unsuitable settlement during ADR. In such circumstances, court litigation may offer a more equal opportunity as well as greater security for the vulnerable party’s interests and rights.  In some cases, those involving court litigation may be preferred, such as those involving constitutional questions, problems of public policy, or topics of substantial public interest. Tribunal procedures, transparency, responsibility, and the potential to establish new legal precedents help guarantee that choices are made with the best interests of society in mind. These higher societal outcomes and issues may not be fully addressed by ADR.


Docket exclusion and ADR are somewhat interrelated with each other. The docket exclusion mechanism assists courts regulate their backlog by referring the right cases to ADR. Courts can more efficiently use the resources they have to resolve the remaining issues that call for adjudication by filtering out situations that are appropriate to ADR The purposes of enhancing effectiveness, supporting independence of parties, maintaining relationships, achieving cost and time savings, and providing customised dispute resolution alternatives are what encourage the connection amongst ADR and docket exclusion.


It is a complicated and subtle matter to determine whether ADR is the most effective way to reduce docket exclusion. Considerable arguments may be made for both positions. After discussing and studying the relation between ADR and docket exclusion, we can determine that yes, it is a better and more easy, economical, and quick decision-making process than going to court to settle disputes, but it always cannot be trusted because of the lack of formality, privacy, and security of issues that are of higher importance to the parties involved. When considering docket exclusion and ADR in assessment, it is essential to establish a balance. There will always be instances that need the official adjudication of courts, regardless of the fact that ADR may be an effective tool for quickly and peacefully settling conflicts. Before instituting docket exclusion policies that heavily rely on ADR, much thought should be given to the nature of the dispute, the requirements and desires of the parties involved, and the broader implications for society. Though ADR is faster and less expensive than traditional court litigation, not all cases are suitable for ADR. Many disputes require the intervention of the court and direct issues of public interest. 

It is essential to understand that there is no one resolution that’s effective for all situations in order to reach a fair conclusion. A detailed analysis of the specific facts, types of conflicts, and requirements and preferences of the parties concerned is necessary to determine the success of ADR in decreasing docket exclusion. At last, it is essential to take a balanced approach that recognizes the potential advantages of ADR while also making sure that instances that call for courtroom proceedings are not overlooked and that the rights and interests of all parties are efficiently preserved.

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