Meditation Act, 2023 – Strengthening dispute resolution

Meditation Act, 2023 – Strengthening dispute resolution


Over 5 crore cases are pending to be resolved in various courts. According to the Integrated Case Management System’s data, 69,766 cases are pending in the Supreme Court( as of 1st July data).This clearly depicts the sad state of affairs in our judiciary. It impacts people’s lives. In India, cases take years to be solved in court. Nowadays, peaceful resolution of disputes is possible without even going to court. It’s done through Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR).  The term alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to several methods of resolving conflicts outside of court. It has many types like Arbitration, Conciliation, Mediation and Lok Adalats.In this blog, we will explore mediation where parties to a disagreement come together with a mediator, a third party who is impartial and is there to help the parties communicate, negotiate, and resolve their differences.


Mediate is derived from the Latin medius “middle,” and people who assist in mediating a peace accord between the parties are in the middle. Mediation is not a new concept in India. Before the advent of Britishers in our country, the disputes were solved by the panchayats where elder people or Mahajans were appointed as mediators. The Industrial Disputes Act, of 1947, which outlined specific methods for resolving disputes outside of court, is credited with officially integrating mediation into the Indian legal system during the post-British era. The Legal Services Authority gave statutory recognition to Lok Adalats and mediation gained popularity. With effect from 1.7.2002, the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1999, revised section 89 of the CPC, incorporating mediation as one of the means of settling disputes. This amendment was done on the recommendations of the Law Commission of India and Justice Malimath Committee. Since that time, the Supreme Court judges have made major contributions to the growth of mediation as a form of alternative dispute resolution. A Mediation and Conciliation Committee was constituted under the leadership of Hon. Mr. Justice R C Lahoti, and in 2005, a Project on Mediation was launched in Delhi. In the same year, judicial mediation began at the Karkardooma court complex, and a permanent mediation center was established at the Tis Hazari court complex. Additionally, two mediation centers were opened in 2015, one at the Patiala court and the other in the Delhi Karkardooma court complex. 


The Mediation Bill, 2023 was recently passed by both Houses of Parliament during the monsoon session. After getting the President of India’s assent, it became the Mediation Act, of 2023 (also known as “the Act”). The act essentially makes mediation an official and institutionalized approach for settling conflicts in India by giving it legal legitimacy and a specific set of norms and processes. One of the key features of this act is the Mediation Council of India which will be established by the Central Government. It will have a chairperson, two full-time members who have experience in mediation or ADR, three ex-officio members (Law Secretary and the Expenditure Secretary are included), and a part-time member from an industry body. The functions include registering the mediators and recognising mediation institutes that train, teach and certify mediators. Before going to any court or particular tribunals, parties must attempt to resolve their civil or commercial disputes through mediation. At any stage of the court proceedings court or tribunal may ask the parties to opt for mediation even if they failed to agree in the pre-litigation mediation. The proceedings will be confidential and must be completed within 180 days. It can be extended by parties if they want. Mediators can be appointed by the parties by agreement or by any mediation service provider. All agreements reached through mediation, with the exception of community mediation, will be legally binding and enforceable. They could be contested for the following reasons: (i) fraud, (ii) corruption, (iii) impersonation, or (iv) relating to disputes that are unsuitable for mediation. To address conflicts that could jeopardize the peace and harmony of local citizens, community mediation may be tried which will be conducted by a panel of three mediators. There are some issues with this act that should be addressed for better alignment with the needs. For example mandatory pre-litigation mediation, challenges in enforcing international settlements, issues with community mediation etc.

Meditation Act, 2023 - Strengthening dispute resolution


ADR encourages more cooperative and agreeable resolutions while also relieving the pressure on the overworked court system. Even while it might not be appropriate in every circumstance, it should always be taken into consideration as a feasible option for resolving disputes. ADR offers a ray of hope for individuals trying to discover common ground, maintain relationships, and arrive at just and timely outcomes as we navigate a world that is becoming more complex and interdependent.“The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.” This quote by Tom Crum captures the timeless wisdom that ADR offers, motivating us to keep looking for peaceful, practical resolutions to problems in a world that is becoming more interconnected.

Author:- Trisha Kalash, a Student of Government Law College, Mumbai

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