The year of 1996 marked the beginning of an era of Arbitration and Conciliation Act.  The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs found that as of 2001, there were 21 High Courts in the country and 35.4 lakh cases pending. The figure implies that even though the Act was passed in 1996 but  was a failure to become intensely effective and suck in the burden was overburdening the judiciary.

Arbitration is not to replace nor supersede the courts but to help them. The effort was made to release some of the short comings that were in 1940 Act with the Act of 1996 and the rigidity that was involved in the courts was excluded by excluding the Civil Procedure Code and The Indian Evidence Act.

As arbitration is becoming a saddle on judiciary but there could be other better alternative such as mediation. In court of law there is always a win-lose situation but in mediation it is always win-win because as the parties themselves find solution that accommodate the fundamental need of each party.


If the parties wishes to make their agreement binding, they can arrange “agreement settlement” which is a legal contract stating the terms of the agreement and it can only be legally binding when a judge signs the mediation agreement settlement. Therefore the judicial system also has a role to play in the mediation process though it is not in a big way that it becomes overstraining.

Therefore arbitration should not depend on the court of law. Mediation can be used in a big way where it is free from the delay, cost and rigidity. Indian judiciary should be like all the court of law and the alternative disputes which when pieced together create a perfect straightened mirror of quicker and effortless approachable justice.


Shreya MAzumdar