Pakistan needs Alternate Dispute Resolution at topmost priority

The ADR means Alternate Dispute Resolution has different methods of arbitration, conciliation, mediation, and negotiations, for resolving the disputes outside the court in a free environment without using the complex process of litigation. In Pakistani culture the concept of ADR is not new, it revolves around the whole country in the form of Jirgas, Nek mards, Elders community, and Punchaiats. But as the advancement of the world, this appreciated old concept needs more polished in form of advancements like other developed countries USA and UK and neighbor country India. If ADR is used properly, it has many advantages, it prevents hostility among the parties, it is the faster and cheaper procedure for resolving the dispute amicably. Suppose a dispute arises between close relatives, cousins, family, friends, colleagues, tenant, and landlord, a customer of any business place, business partners then mediation and reconciliation are the best ADR procedure to use, as ADR has choiceful remedies. Reconciliation and mediation both are very much effective when emotional attachments and emotions may get in the way of a solution, then the mediator can help the parties to communicate in a peaceful, polite, relaxing, and non-threatening manner. A good mediator uses his qualities, and he tries his level best to bring disputed parties in a win-win situation, where both parties happy and start their life peacefully again as their dispute resolve amicably with a happy end. On the other hand, if their dispute resolves under the process of litigation with a loss or win situation then only one party is happy and another party is unhappy, and the losing party will go again for appeal or revision against decree or order, again they are under the process of litigation. ADR is also mentioned in Pakistan’s law and so also with the amended law. In Sales Tax Rules, 2006, chapter X, section 63 to 69 defines the whole procedure of ADR, how an application for Alternate Dispute Resolution moves before Board, how the committee appointed and working, decision and remuneration of the committee. And “The Sales Act, 1990 section 47-A apply for a registered aggrieved person in connection with the dispute. In “Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 (with amendment) section 134-A of ADR explained if a dispute arises between taxpayer and officer about the liability of tax, waiver of default surcharge and penalty and specific relief required to resolve the dispute then he may apply through application for appointment of committee before Board, after examining the said application, Board appoints a committee within sixty days and comprising members chief commissioner, two persons Chartered Accountants from a panel notified by Board and two advocates having minimum experience of ten years in the field of taxation and reputable businessman. The appointed committee shall examine the issue, conduct inquiry, seek expert opinion, and conduct an audit and committee within 120 days resolve the dispute and if the committee fails to decide within 120 days, then Board shall dissolve the committee by an order in writing and the matter shall be directed by the court of law. If Income Tax and Sales Tax dispute resolution through negotiation strategies like arbitration, then within 120 days saves the time of taxpayer and customer and it also creates a harmonious and friendly relationship between customer and businessman or taxpayer and state. Hence in these relationships, arbitration is a very effective way to settle the dispute outside the judiciary. In this regard, the Federal Board of Revenue also issued the Taxpayer Facilitation Guide “The Mechanism of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), with the mission to enhance the capability of the tax system through the application of modern techniques by creating satisfied, dedicated, and professional workforce. And one of the citations PLD 2007 Lahore pagination 581, in which the Honorable Judge also mentioned the importance of ADR that it is now a universally accepted method being followed as a less expensive, less time consuming, less cumbersome, and ultimately a fruitful and beneficial mode. In Family Law in Pakistan “West Pakistan Family Court Act 1964”, sections 10 and 12 tell us about reconciliation which is one of the most important parts of ADR. If disputed parties amicably settle their dispute through reconciliation, it gives a great impact on their lives, they maintain their respect in society, their family will not be broken their children do not suffer and when children do not suffer, ultimately family do not suffer, a family spends their life peacefully and family plays a positive role in society. In “The Sindh Land Revenue Act 1967” which with or without consent of parties refer to arbitration under section 151 for resolving the dispute. Recently, the people of Pakistan started work on ADR and with their great efforts, they passed a bill to provide for ADR in 2015, the substitution of section 89-A, Code of Civil Procedure, Act V of 1908, in which it is mentioned that the court may refer the matter for arbitration, mediation or conciliation to a professionally trained arbitrator, mediator, conciliator or to an approved alternative dispute resolution center where a mediator shall be appointed for mediation. Thereafter, Provisional Assembly of Sindh on 30th January 2019 published an Act of the Legislature of Sindh, The Code of Civil Procedure (Sindh Amendment) Act, 2018, in this act first time properly defines the definition of Alternative Dispute Resolution, which means the procedure for settling disputes without a court trial, namely arbitration, mediation, conciliation or negotiation. It shows the method for resolving cases of civil and commercial matters. It also describes the process under order X Rules 1B, 1C and 1D, when a court refers a plaint or case to ADR under section 89-A of this code, in the fourth schedule of this code it is mentioned that 89-A of CPC is applicable in cases, the dispute between landlord and tenant, Pre-emption cases, Partnership agreements, business documents or contracts, and construction contracts. Province, Punjab also take part and amended in the first schedule of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, order IX -B, Alternate Dispute Resolution, in which complete procedure of ADR is given, reference of mediation, the appearance of parties, settlement, and failure of mediation. This is a brief introduction to ADR in Pakistani law.
To sum up, ADR refers the different methods such as arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation to sort out the matters outside the walls of the court. This concept previously prevails in our society as jirgas and related terms. However, the modern world of today enhances the powers and decision-making skills of ADR to get maximum advantage out of it. Some advantages of ADR include prevention of hostility, a faster pace than traditional court proceedings, reconciliation of subject matter or dispute among parties. The mediator aims to bring parties on the ADR platform and successfully resolve the dispute to make the situation a win-win from both ends.

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