A Parliamentary Committee of Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice is scheduled to hold a meeting on Thursday in the Parliament for the consideration of 'The Mediation Bill, 2021' which aims at promoting and facilitating mediation, especially institutional mediation.
In December 2021, the Central government introduced the 'Mediation Bill, 2021' in Rajya Sabha for its further consideration into Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice on the demand of the Opposition parties.
The Bill also sought resolution of disputes, commercial or otherwise, enforce mediated settlement agreements, provided for a body for registration of mediators.
The purpose of the Bill is to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation as acceptable and cost effective process.
On 5 November 2021, the Ministry of Law and Justice released a draft of this Mediation Bill, 2021 for public comments and consultation.
Following close on the heels of India signing the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Convention), the Bill looked for cementing the position of mediation as a sought-after mode of alternative dispute resolution in India.
Its many objectives include the promotion, encouragement and facilitation of mediation, especially institutional mediation, enforcement of domestic and international mediation settlement agreements and notably, making online mediation as an acceptable and cost-effective process.
The Bill is divided into four parts with Part- I dealing with domestic mediations and Part- III dealing with mediations under the Singapore Convention.
As per the Part-II of the Bill, a domestic mediation has been defined as one conducted in India, where all or both parties habitually reside in or are incorporated in or have their business in India.
The mediation agreement mentions that the Mediation Act, 2021 would apply to the mediation.
A salient feature of the Bill is the adoption of the international practice of using the terms 'mediation' and 'conciliation' interchangeably, as evident from the meaning of mediation set out under the part IV of the Bill.
The Bill defines a 'mediation service provider' as a body or organisation that provides conduct of mediation and has in place procedures and rules to govern the conduct of the mediation in conformity with the provisions of the statute.
Lok Adalats constituted under the National Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and mediation centres annexed to courts have also been included under this head.
The Bill recognises online mediation conducted through the use of applications and computer networks, resorted to either wholly or in part, at a certain stage of the mediation process.
It further states that the conduct of all such mediations shall be governed by the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000. (ANI)