8 Aug 2023 6:52 AM GMT
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Mediation Bill, 2023, it was already approved by Rajya Sabha last week. The Bill has the provision to volunteer for trying to settle civil or commercial disputes through mediation first, before approaching any court or tribunal. The Bill seeks to, “to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for resolution of disputes,...
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Mediation Bill, 2023, it was already approved by Rajya Sabha last week. The Bill has the provision to volunteer for trying to settle civil or commercial disputes through mediation first, before approaching any court or tribunal.
The Bill seeks to, “to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for resolution of disputes, commercial or otherwise, enforce mediated settlement agreements, provide for a body for registration of mediators, to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation as acceptable and cost effective process and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
The Bill when introduced had the mandatory provision that whether any mediation agreement exists or not, any party before filing any suit or proceedings of civil or commercial nature in any court, shall take steps to settle the disputes by pre-litigation mediation. However, after suggestions of the standing committee, the pre-litigation mediation was made voluntary.
Pre-litigation mediation is defined as a process of undertaking mediation, for settlement of disputes prior to the filing of a suit or proceeding of civil or commercial nature.
It introduces a list of disputes under “Schedule-I”, which will not be fit for mediation. The list includes disputes involving allegations of serious and specific fraud, fabrication of documents, forgery, impersonation, coercion, criminal offences, etc.
It clarifies that the provisions of the Bill will not prevent any court, if deemed appropriate, from referring any dispute to mediation relating to compoundable offences or matrimonial offences connected with or arising out of civil proceedings between the parties.
It also provides for the establishment of the Mediation Council of India by central government. It will consist of a chairperson, two full-time members (with experience in mediation or ADR), three ex-officio members (including the Law Secretary, and the Expenditure Secretary), and a part-time member from an industry body.
Functions of the Council includes registration of mediators, recognising mediation service providers and mediation institutes to train, educate, and certify mediators.
The Bill introduces the concept of “Community mediation”, any dispute which is likely to affect peace, harmony and tranquility amongst the residents or families of any area or locality can be settled through community mediation with prior mutual consent of the parties to the dispute. Any of the parties can make an application before the concerned Authority constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 or District Magistrate or Sub-Divisional Magistrate in areas where no such Authority has been constituted, for referring the dispute to mediation.
Click here to read the Bill