Madhya Pradesh Police uses ODR for resolving disputes

Vineeta & Jitendra

The Madhya Pradesh Police wanted to make dispute resolution more accessible for people within the state. Typically, when a citizen has a complaint, they will approach the police even for guidance on how to resolve the issue.

Citizens are not seeking to file FIR's in such cases but rather reassurance from the police force or milder forms of intervention such as warnings issued to the offender. This is common in family matters where a complainant may not wish to press criminal charges but still seeks some form of remedy.

How did MP Police use Sama?

MP Police saw Sama as an able partner for alleviating the citizen's troubles in such matters. In essence, parties sought out the police to mediate their issues but the police themselves are often-times overburdened and cannot allocate enough time to address each issue suitably. In bigger cities, this problem was all the more pronounced, wherein long lines would queue outside police stations with 5 or 6 personnel.

Sama onboarded over 1000+ Mahila Thanas across the state of Madhya Pradesh for a 6-month pilot project. The thanas would file eligible* cases on Sama's online platform, Sama would then allocate a mediator and a case manager to each case. Within 7 days the mediator-case manager duo would try and resolve the case. If the case does not settle within 7 days, the issue would be taken up by the police.

Vineeta and Jitendra

In Ujjain, Vineeta was staying away from home to complete her studies. After 2 months of living separately, she wanted to return home but her husband Jitendra was unwilling to do so. Vineeta's mother-in-law was also against having her in the house. Unable to resolve the issue amongst themselves, Vineeta approached the Ujjain Mahila Thana for help.

The Mahila Thana filed the complaint on Sama's ODR Platform and gave Vineeta a receipt, informing her that she will soon receive a call from her case manager and they will brief her as to the next steps. Anjali Nayak, a mediator hailing from MP, was allocated to this case. She is a trained Mediator and is passionate about resolving family disputes.

Anjali Nayak spoke with both Vineeta and Jitendra over the phone, heard their side of the story, and counseled them on how they can both move forward amicably. Jitendra then agreed to bring Vineeta home and also offered to bear the expenses for her education. This case was thus resolved within 2 days and both parties felt heard.

By using ODR to resolve such disputes, the MP Police has been able to devote more time to other tasks and resolve disputes in a sustainable and efficient manner. Challenges still remain, especially with respect to compliance of a mediated settlement, but the foundation for leveraging technology to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently has been set.