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In these tough times of inflation, unemployment, crime, anger, greed, impatience, almost everyone has some kind of dispute with somebody else, may be its personal, matrimonial, commercial, property related or of any other kind, due to which, our Hon'ble Courts are excessively burdened.

Actually, there are two modes of addressing the said disputes i.e. one is litigation and the other is mediation and conciliation. In the litigation mode, the parties normally spend a huge amount of cost, time, relations, etc. etc, whereas the other mode of dispute resolution i.e. Mediation is totally informal, cost saving, time saving, people friendly, less complicated and allows the parties to communicate with each other to the root cause of their conflict, identify their underlying interests and helps them focus on finding out the solution themselves. It also helps in strengthening and rebuilding of the relationships.

Now a days, most of the disputes can be resolved with Mediation, which should be used by the parties at the first instance, before approaching the Hon'ble Courts, which are bound by Law and Statutes only. Mediation as a mode of resolving disputes amongst the parties would also save the judicial time as well. As per the Cambridge Dictionary, Mediation is "the process of talking to two separate people or groups involved in a disagreement to try to help them to agree or find a solution to their problems." Black's Law Dictionary defines Mediation as:
"A method of non- binding dispute resolution involving a neutral third party who tries to help the disputing parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution."4

Mediation has to be resorted first against the traditional mode of litigation to resolve the disputes, because it is affordable, fair and impartial, confidential, saves time and money, avoids litigation, fosters cooperation, improves communication, identifies underlying issues, creates personalized solutions. There are stages of Mediation Process, like Introduction and Opening Statement; Joint Session; Caucus or Separate Session & Closing.

Their objective is to establish neutrality, create an awareness and understanding of the process, develop rapport with the parties, gain confidence and trust of the parties, establish an environment that is conducive to constructive negotiations, motivate the parties for an amicable settlement of the dispute and establish control over the process. Infact, the concept of Mediation is quite ancient in India.

This process was tried to be adopted by Lord Krishna for mediating between Kauravas & Pandavas, even in normal routines, the family elders try to resolve domestic issues, then panchayats also, etc. etc. There exists a strong culture of mediation in India. Moreso, a large number of Statues also provide for Mediation as a mode of settlement of disputes between the parties, like:
  • Industrial Disputes Act, 1947,
  • Code of Civil Procedure, 1908;
  • Legal Services Authority Act, 1987;
  • Companies Act, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Act, 2006;
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955;
  • Special Marriage Act, 1954;
  • Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016;
  • Commercial Courts Act, 2015;
  • Consumer Protection Act and so on.
Now a days, the Hon'ble Courts also take extreme steps to help the parties to resolve their disputes amicably through Mediation. Thus, it is important to spread its awareness amongst the public. Many relationships can be saved through mediation, whereby the burden of cases upon the Hon'ble courts will also reduce.

The need of the hour is to resort to mediation not as an Alternate Dispute Resolution mode but as a Primary mode of Dispute Resolution. Encouraging Mediation would certainly be helping for ensuring speedy delivery of justice.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Sapan Dhir
Advocate, A Practicing Advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh and former Vice President of High Court Bar Association.
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: SP125215065969-09-0921

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