To ensure early resolve of the staggering 3.2 crore pending cases across the country, the Ministry of Law and Justice is set to enact a separate law of mediation. Mediation is a cost-effective, private and informal way of settling disputes with the help of a neutral third party. At present, the process is mostly used to resolve marital disputes. With the new legislation in place, mediation could settle landlord-tenant and industrial disputes, which form a major chunk of litigation. In a meeting held last week, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda expressed concern over the increasing pendency of cases and called for an alternative for dispute resolution. The ministry has proposed for a stand-alone law to give it a statutory backing. “There is no legislation to back mediation process in the country. The lack of any statutory backing is a cause of concern in the minds of the parties regarding validity of the outcome of mediation, so litigation was preferred,” said an official from the ministry. At present the process is being carried out through the Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, established by the Supreme Court. In states, the High Court manages such cases where the court annexed mediation process is available. Protracted litigation has an adverse impact on investor sentiments.
The government is also in talks with national universities to study alternate dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism to ensure appropriate changes in the national ADR policy.
The government wants to promote ADR mechanism such as mediation, conciliation, arbitration and lok adalats as effective means of settling disputes without resorting to formal litigation process.