Everybody must believe in the “culture of settlement” which was advocated even by Mahatma Gandhi, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said on Saturday after inaugurating the Alternate Dispute Resolution Centre in Mumbai. “Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln, who were lawyers first, advocated and supported the culture of settlement. They advised people to settle instead of litigating. Everybody must believe in the culture of settlement,” CJI Misra said in the Bombay High Court.
The CJI along with Bombay High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated the ADR centre and a creche for lawyers and staff of High Court at the adjacent CTO building in south Mumbai. “Arbitration has to be cost effective, speedy and impartial. There must be absolute disclosure as mandated in law. The arbitrator or the mediator should show good attitude, sincerity and great respect for the parties concerned,” CJI Misra said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis while lauding the ADR centre establishment said, “Our courts are grappling with an increasing number of cases and litigations which is resulting in people getting delayed justice. The ADR centre will benefit common people. While getting justice is not just a constitutional right but also a fundamental right of the citizens, getting the same on time is equally important.”
“The state government assures all logistical support to ensure that the centre remains robust,” he said. The chief minister said the government in consultation with Chief Justice Chellur has finalised a plot in suburban Mumbai for the construction of a new high court building.
Chief Justice Chellur said ADR has achieved phenomenal success in foreign countries and is the best solution to prolonged legal battles. “ADR is less costly, expeditious and the process is flexible. The centre can address not just civil matters but also criminal matters,” she said.
Meanwhile, speaking at another event in the city this morning, Chief Justice of India Misra stressed the need to push for the use of Alternate Dispute Redressal systems, particularly that of institutional arbitration for resolving commercial disputes. He said the concept of institutional arbitration has caught on in India and that the same was here to stay. He said it was time for India to assume a pivotal place in the world of institutional arbitration.
CJI Misra was speaking as the chief guest at the annual conference organised by the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA), a joint initiative of the Maharashtra government and a group of domestic and international business and legal communities. Also present at the event were Justice A K Sikri of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Chellur and several other serving and retired judges of the Bombay High Court.
Justice Sikri also echoed the CJI’s views on developing India as a hub of institutional arbitration. He referred to India’s improved ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, and said that availability of quality arbitration mechanisms was an integral component of ease of doing business.
Both Justice Sikri and the CJI agreed that the country’s economy and a robust legal system grew hand in hand and to further improve ease of doing business in India, there existed a need to provide viable alternatives to litigation and implement effective means for enforcement of contracts.
They said that a robust institutional arbitration system could provide flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness in commercial dispute resolution.