On Friday, the Ministry of Law and Justice released the Draft Mediation Bill, 2021, for public comment and suggestions from all stakeholders. Because India is a party to the Singapore Convention on Mediation, the Bill seeks to create separate legislation on mediation for domestic and international matters. The bill also considers the worldwide practice of referring to conciliation and mediation as interchangeable words.
Mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provides a non-adversarial, informal technique to resolving a variety of conflicts, including civil, economic, and familial disputes, if the parties are unable to initiate or negotiate a settlement on their own.
“A draft bill with the objective to promote, encourage and facilitate mediation especially institutional mediation for resolution of disputes commercial and otherwise, enforce domestic and international mediation settlement agreements, provide for a body for the registration of mediators, to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation as an acceptable and cost-effective process and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto has been prepared”, the press release pertaining to the Bill states.
Stakeholder comments should be sent to [email protected] or by post to Mr. Parijat Diwan, Deputy Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Room No. 435-A, 4th Floor, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi 110001.
On September 1, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju indicated that the Central government was planning to bring new mediation laws in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament. The Law Minister was addressing during the laying of the foundation stone for the planned new National Law University in Prayagraj, Uttar
Salient features of the Bill:
• The draft Bill proposes for pre-litigation mediation and at the same time safeguards the interest of the litigants to approach the competent adjudicatory forums/courts in case an urgent relief is sought.
• The successful outcome of mediation in the form of Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA) has been made enforceable by law. Since the Mediation Settlement Agreement is out of the consensual agreement between the parties, the challenge to the same has been permitted on limited grounds.
• The mediation process protects the confidentiality of the mediation undertaken and provides for immunity in certain cases against its disclosure.
• The registration of Mediation Settlement Agreement has also been provided for with State/District/Taluk Legal Authorities within 90 days to ensure maintenance of authenticated records of the settlement so arrived.
• Provides for establishment of the Mediation Council of India.
• Provides for community mediation.