A Bill that could alter the mediation landscape

A Bill that could alter the mediation landscape

A Bill that could alter the mediation landscape- Today Current Affairs

Context – The huge pendency of cases in India.

WHY IN NEWS– The Chief Justice of India (CJI), N.V. Ramana, while speaking at the India-Singapore Mediation Summit in July 2021 had said that mediation should be made mandatory as a first step in dispute resolution and that a law should be framed in this regard. 

As per N.V.Ramana, a movement should be launched to make the mediation popular since its cheaper and quicker mechanism in dispute resolution.

He further added that courts should be the last option of resolving the disputes. So, exploring the options of alternate dispute resolution are advisable.

Expressed in these laws: The Hindu Analysis

In India, mediation has been found as legitimate in specific laws like- 

  •  The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

  •  The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 

  •  The Companies Act, 2013

  •  The Commercial Courts Act, 2015 

  •  The Consumer Protection Act, 2019

India still has no standalone legislation yet. 

Madras High Court took an initiative, the Tamil Nadu Mediation and Conciliation Centre, which is India’s first court-annexed facility with a mediation centre in every district, inaugurated in 2005. The result of which has been in the form of a significant reduction in the pendency of such cases.

Bill scope: The Hindu Analysis

The introduction of The Mediation Bill, 2021, in Parliament, in December 2021, seeks to ‘promote mediation (including online), and provide for enforcement of settlement agreements resulting from mediation’. 

In civil or commercial disputes cases→to settle by mediation 

Criminal offences disputes, involving allegation of serious and specific fraud, fabrication of documents, forgery, impersonation and coercion→ Some clauses in it also are dealt in mediation. Ex. Section 7,Section 44 of the Bill. 

→ Any settlement so arrived at, however, shall not be enforceable as a judgment or decree of a civil court. 

The provisions of the Act shall not have overriding effect.

→ Similarly, local dispute having the potential to create a law and order issues and registration of a criminal case or cases, should be avoided through community mediation.

 Through mediation- PRIMARILY the civil and commercial disputes are resolved, but it has huge scope to relieve some of the pressure on law enforcement agencies. 

The law to prevent the sexual harassment of women at the workplace has probably been kept out of its scope so that an internal or local complaint committee is able to take up conciliation and close the case locally without involving a third party and detailed procedure. 

POLICY is to promote friendliness between the parties, to restore peace.

Court’s view- The Hindu Analysis

The Supreme Court of India has held that if there is composition of an offence during investigation, the parties can either approach the court or the police. 

The police, on verification of the truth, genuineness and voluntariness of the composition, may record the statement of the victim and recommend to the Magistrate to accept the negative final report.

 The Magistrate after giving notice to the complainant can make an appropriate decision in the matter accepting the composition. 

In other cases, appropriate orders may be passed by the court, and leave granted to compound the offence. The Hindu Analysis

Thus, under both conditions, if a dispute is resolved amicably, including through mediation, it may result in its compounding under the CrPC.

Keeping in view the recommendations of the Law Commission in its 243rd report, Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, relating to cruelty by the husband or his relatives, can also be made compoundable.

It is having far-reaching consequences in resolving matrimonial disputes.

A spin-off from the Mediation Bill is its potential to help relieve some of the pressure on law enforcement agencies


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