Why is it in the news?
Recently, both the houses of the Parliament passed the Mediation Bill, 2023.
About the Mediation Act 2023
- Allows parties to enforce mediated settlements as court judgments.
- Allows challenges based on fraud, corruption, impersonation, or impermissibility under the Act.
- Requires written mediation agreements, where parties commit to resolving disputes through mediation.
- Permits parties to voluntarily refer disputes to mediation before filing lawsuits, with courts maintaining panels of mediators.
- Lists matters ineligible for mediation, including criminal offenses, professional misconduct, and tax disputes.
- Sets a 120-day timeline for mediation, extendable by 60 days.
- The Act provides for the setting up of the Mediation Council of India with functions includes registering mediators, recognizing mediation service providers and mediation institutes.
Significance of the Act
- Aims to reduce frivolous court claims and maintain confidentiality to protect relationships.
- Requires neutral empanelled mediators with expertise.
- Prioritizes expertise and efficiency, encouraging parties to focus on commercial dealings.
· Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps parties in a dispute reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
· Mediation is considered a more cost-effective, efficient, and less adversarial method compared to traditional court litigation.
|About Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)|
· Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a non-adversarial dispute resolution mechanism that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration.
· ADR aims to reduce the burden of litigation on courts, provide a satisfying experience for parties, and address case backlog in the Indian judicial system.
Types of ADR
· Arbitration: Involves an arbitral tribunal issuing a binding decision, with relaxed formalities.
· Conciliation: A non-binding procedure with a neutral third-party helping parties reach a mutual settlement.
· Mediation: An impartial mediator assists parties in achieving a mutually acceptable resolution without making decisions.
· Negotiation: Parties engage in non-binding discussions to negotiate a settlement.
Advantages of ADR
· Maintains confidentiality.
· Cost-effective and efficient.
· Flexible procedures save time and money.
· Encourages creative solutions and improved relationships.
· Specialized expertise available through ADR professionals.
· Provides greater control over outcomes.
Status of ADR in India
· Statutory backing through acts like the Legal Services Authorities Act (1987) and the Arbitration and Conciliation Act (1996).
· Introduction of plea bargaining in the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2005.
· Use of Lok Adalats for informal dispute resolution.
· Emergence of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) as an ICT-based ADR mechanism.
Challenges and Recommendations
· Lack of awareness about ADR mechanisms.
· Need for wider dissemination of information by National and State Legal Services Authorities.
· Potential reliance on ICT innovations and accessible ODR processes for the future of dispute resolution.