Written by - Mr. Param Bhamra
(Founding Partner, MediateGuru)
Yes, depending upon the gravity of the case.
Exponential growth of criminal cases worldwide is a major concern to judiciary everywhere in the world. One of the main, if not only objective of the judiciary is to provide justice to each and every citizen and it has been many times stated that “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”. Owing to huge mountain of pendency of cases, ADR methods are gaining traction in legal industry and establishing itself as a strong contender against traditional litigation.
But the question remains, can mediation replace litigation by trying criminal proceedings?
Mediation is obviously better as it is efficient and effective, but the only difference being is that mediation proceedings are party centric, whereas litigation is for public good. Mediation can do wonders as it resolves the conflict by reaching into mutual agreement, whereas litigation decides a winner and a loser.
As stated above, criminal proceedings can begin in offences such as cheque bounce case or petty fraud case but in matters of heinous offences, litigation is still preferred. The basic behind the argument is that Criminal cases are treated as “offences against society” but with advancement in our modern times, not all offences such as petty offences can be treated as offences against society as a whole.
In a nutshell, heinous crimes such as murder, kidnapping or rape etc. needs stricter scrutiny of judicial officers and are against the society. Cases like these needs to be tried at courts and cannot be mediated, whereas in petty offences such as cheque bounce, traffic violations etc. the offences necessarily aren’t against the state and can be open to mediation prior to filing complaint to magistrate.