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The Ministry of Law and Justice issued a draft Mediation Bill for public consultation

November 5, 2021: Various initiatives are being taken by the Government of India for strengthening the Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanisms through amendments in the existing laws and by different enactments for facilitating settlement of disputes outside the courts.

The legislature felt it necessary to bring an umbrella legislation including amendments in the existing laws on Mediation. The draft bill takes into consideration the international practice of using the terms ‘Conciliation’ and ‘Mediation’ interchangeably. It has also become expedient to enact a law in the field of mediation on issues of domestic and international mediation as India is a signatory to the Singapore Convention on Mediation.

Thus, a draft bill is prepared with the objectives 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 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 there to.

The main features or highlights of the draft bill are:

1. 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.

2. The successful outcome of mediation in the form of Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA) has been made enforceable by law.

3. The registration of Mediation Settlement Agreement has also been provided for with State/ District/ Taluk level Legal Authorities within 90 days to ensure maintenance of authenticated records of the settlement so arrived.

4. The bill provides for establishment of the Mediation Council of India.

5. The bill also provides for community mediation.

-Bidisha Barman

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