"Mediation is the first option of any dispute."
The dispute resolution can also be by two methods – either by direct negotiations or by negotiations with the assistance of a neutral third party. Direct negotiations are the process by which parties to a dispute endeavour to settle it by adopting a friendly and understanding attitude towards each other. There are no set rules governing this mode of settlement. Any agreement reached through negotiations with the help of a Mediator is governed by the Contract Act, 1872. The words “mediation”, “conciliation”, “Lok Adalat” and “judicial settlement” are defined in Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure. There is no major difference between “conciliation” and “mediation” as both are processes relating to a negotiated settlement with the assistance of third parties.
Mediation can be attempted either at the pre-litigation stage or during the pendency of the litigation. If the parties so desire, it can be attempted even post-litigation, during execution proceedings. So long as there is a dispute or conflict, there can be mediation.
If it is a pre-litigation mediation, it is possible for the process to be conducted as conciliation and consequently the settlement agreement between the parties, duly signed by them and authenticated by the conciliator, has the status of an arbitral award on agreed terms (vide Section 74 read with Section 30 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, which is enforceable directly in the same manner as if it is a decree of court).
Conciliation is a negotiation process commenced with the consent of parties, where the conciliators are appointed by the parties themselves, under Section 64 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. When a settlement is arrived at by conciliation, it will have the status of an executable decree under Section 74 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Thus, going to a court is not the only method for resolving disputes. The high costs, long delays, aggravations and loss of privacy involved in going to court are just a few of the reasons why more and more people with disputes are turning to more effective ways to settle their differences.
Necessity of Mediation
A large number of disputes are being reported to the police and also are being filed in the courts. As a result of this, not only there is an increase in the litigation in the courts, but the relations between the parties are also getting spoiled. Most of these matters could be easily settled without going to the police or the courts. Hence use of mediation is the only way to help the disputant parties to resolve such cases.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which an impartial mediator tries to bring together the disputant parties to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. The parties to the dispute have an opportunity to ventilate their grievances and feelings and thereafter work out the solutions to meet their interests.
The mediator neither decides nor imposes any solution on the parties, but creates a favorable environment to enable them to reach an amicable settlement.
Type of cases
The cases related to:
- Neighborhood – parking, noise, nuisance destruction / repair / maintenance of property, fencing, pets, interpersonal etc.
- Family – Parent / child, parenting (child custody / visitation / support), child welfare etc., adult guardianships, restitution, divorce, domestic violence, maintenance etc.
- School – Special education, peer (Student-student) minor complaints corrections.
- Commercial – Consumer / merchant, small claims, work place, bad cheques, accident compensation.
- Miscellaneous – Police / citizen, minor criminal, victim / offender, disabilities, cross-cultural, religious / charitable, multi-party etc.
We intend to go ahead with an aim towards self-empowerment of the society and for bringing greater harmony with the vision:
- To empower public to resolve disputes amicably,
- To make public build relationships and make stronger and safe society,
- To reduce backlog of cases from Courts.
- To save cost of litigation to parties and state, and
- To promote greater public satisfaction in legal system and dispute resolution mechanism.
The objective is to provide a platform to the parties to settle their disputes with the help of neutral mediators rather than to suffer silently or run to police, courts or any other forum with an intention to minimize the burden of courts.
- Allows parties to personally express their views directly, informally, confidentially and without fear of any adverse action.
- Parties themselves work out solution, which meets their interest and thus, gives more satisfaction.
- Focuses on the future, rather than the rights and wrongs of the parties.
- Eliminates the risks of litigation.
- Helps to save time, energy, money and relationship.
- Brings harmony by creating Win-Win situation for the disputing parties.
- Most cases are settled within 30 minutes to 60 minutes. However, if the dispute involves complex issues, it may require some more time.
The mediation process, though is informal, has a definite structure.
- Mediator first talks to the parties and introduces himself.
- He establishes neutrality, creates trust of parties in the process and ultimately creates atmosphere for open discussions.
- Mediator thereafter listens and encourages both the parties to give information and facts and helps them to identify their interests.
- He establishes communication between the parties.
- He also listens to both the parties separately to enable them to further explain their grievances, demands, expectations.
- He also helps parties to generate options for amicable settlement.
Who can be a mediator?
- Lawyers who have undergone training as prescribed by Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee (MCPC) of the Supreme Court of India and have got the certificate of trained mediator.
- Any respectable citizens of the locality who have to undertake prescribed training for which a certificate will be issued to them.
- Retired officers, Judges, bureaucrats, public spirited persons, lawyers, social workers & respectable citizens etc.
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