Written by - Mr. Param Bhamra
India, a country with world’s 2nd largest population with over 4 crore pending cases above judiciary, the fact that mediation isn’t strictly mandatory for even civil cases up to this point is concerning. It is true that justice delayed is justice denied, and in India it takes 3 years and 1 month for a single average civil case to be adjudicated, when mediation can have the same case resolved in manner of days, if not hours.
So in landmark case of Salem Advocate Bar Association, Tamil Nadu v. Union of India, that referring to either Arbitration, Conciliation or Mediation is somewhat necessary for a person prior to commencing court room litigation.
However, there are indeed some arguments against mandatory mediation as to that it takes away freedom of choice of opting their preferable method of dispute resolution as people believe they can be object to coercion in a mediation proceeding and feel some sense of security in litigation.
But the arguments against overweighs the perks it provides such as speedy resolution, confidentiality, inexpensive. Mediation provide an opportunity for the parties to try and talk out their disputes peacefully, rather than fighting a long and exhausting court battle which can drain a person emotionally as well as financially.
The problem persists today as to in respect to lack of awareness among the general public. People at large don’t really know about ADR methods and still opting for litigation which is already crippled with huge pendency of cases. Mediation can and will solve this problem of “pendency of cases”, but only when enough of the people are aware about this dispute resolution mechanism.