NEW DELHI: At a time when the judiciary is reeling under pressure of huge backlog of cases, the Delhi High Court’s mediation centre is lagging behind in attracting cases for resolution.
A study by Vidhi - Centre for Legal Policy for the past five years on ‘Samadhan’, the mediation centre of the Delhi HC, shows that there is a steady dip in the number of cases referred to it by the courts. It also states that only 2.66 per cent cases are referred for mediation. The study also stresses the need to boost judicial confidence in mediation. The report, comparing Samadhan with a similar facility in the Karnataka HC, shows that the Delhi centre has more mediators and better facilities, but it lags behind the Karnataka centre in terms of settlement rate.
The data reveals that in five years, 13,646 cases were referred to the centre, of which 7,644 were settled and 6,809 remained unresolved. This means 56 per cent of cases were settled by 265 trained mediators, while 50 per cent were sent back to the normal channel of adjudication. Since Samadhan’s inception in 2006, cases referred for mediation are minimal. The report also shows that disputes relating to matrimonial cases, IPR, commercial contracts, properties, family, testamentary, money recovery, service matters and arbitration mostly come up for mediation.
An official associated with the mediation centre said, “We can only hear and settle cases when they are referred to us. If we don’t receive cases, what do we settle? The judges refrain from sending cases to mediation centres.”
Mediation process in India is being carried out through the Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, established by the Supreme Court. All mediation activities are being managed by the HC of the respective states.