Vol. 4 Num 278 Wed. March 10, 2004  

Alternative dispute resolution
A remedy for justice delayed
We agree fully with chief justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain who opined that Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) being cheaper and speedier than the traditional justice system, can largely mitigate the sufferings of the poor population. Those who fall victim to fatwa in rural Bangladesh could also be saved. There is no doubt that over the years the rising expenses of legal system, inordinate delays in the disposal of cases and the huge backlog have not only shaken the confidence of people in the judiciary, but also encouraged arbitrary justice like the so-called shalish. And that's where we failed to meet the demand for justice.

And that's also where the CJ's recommendations for ADR hold out a promise for sustainable solution to the crisis. Building 'awareness at the community level on conflict or dispute resolution and creation of regular corps of trained and efficient mediators/neutrals' upon whom the judges or the disputing parties can rely for this process are pivotal to the establishment of such a system. It will also be a clear move away from the arbitrary, vested interest group-sponsored derailment of justice.

Mostly the tiffs or complaints from smaller causes snowball into long-drawn-out conflicts that contribute to the mounting backlog of cases. This problem can be addressed through the alternate dispute resolution method.

Indeed, we need to take practical measures to let our citizens to get justice and get it quickly. It's time the government gave serious thoughts to an alternative procedure so that the less privileged of the society have quick access to justice.

Those who organised the regional workshop on ADR have our felicitations.