On December 20, 2021, a Mediation Bill (Bill No. XLIII of 2021) has been introduced in Rajya Sabha with an object to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for resolution of disputes, commercial or otherwise, enforce mediated settlement agreements, provide for a body for registration of mediators, to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation as acceptable and cost effective process.
Applicability: shall apply where mediation is conducted in India, and—
(i) all or both parties habitually reside in or are incorporated in or have their place of business in India; or
(ii) the mediation agreement provides that any dispute shall be resolved in accordance with the provisions of this Act; or
(iii) there is an international mediation.
Key features of the Bill:
- subsuming conciliation under Part III of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, in mediation as per international practice of using the terms “conciliation” and “mediation” interchangeably;
- compulsory pre-litigation mediation in matters of civil or commercial dispute, before parties approach a court or a tribunal as provided;
- conduct of online mediation;
- an indicative list of matters which are not fit for mediation under the First Schedule;
- mediation that will take place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction, unless parties agree otherwise or undertake mediation in online mode;
- a period of one hundred and eighty days, for completing the mediation process which is further extendable to a maximum period of one hundred and eighty days with the mutual consent of the parties;
- the mediated settlement agreement resulting from mediation which will be final and binding and will be enforceable in accordance with the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in the same manner as if it were a judgment or decree of a Court;
- establishment of Mediation Council of India, objects of which would be, inter alia, to promote mediation and to develop India as a robust centre for domestic and international mediation, make regulations for registration of mediators, grade mediation service providers, specify criteria for recognition of mediation institutes and mediation service providers, to hold training workshops and courses in the area of mediation, etc.; and
- conduct of community mediation with consent of parties for disputes which are likely to affect peace, harmony and tranquility amongst the residents or families of any area or locality.