Context: The Rajya Sabha passed the Mediation Bill 2021, which mandates individuals to attempt the settlement of civil or commercial disputes through mediation before approaching any court or tribunal.
- Parties can withdraw from mediation after two sessions, and the mediation process must be completed within 180 days, extendable by another 180 days by mutual consent.
- The Bill also establishes the Mediation Council of India, responsible for registering mediators and recognizing mediation service providers and institutes.
- Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps parties in a dispute reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
- Mediation is considered a more cost-effective, efficient, and less adversarial method compared to traditional court litigation.
- The bill aims to reduce the backlog of cases in courts, as there are currently five crore pending cases.
- The bill provides a legal framework for mediation and reflects the government’s whole-of-government approach to promoting alternative dispute resolution.
- No provisions for enforcing certain internationally mediated settlements.
- Lack of clarity on the qualification of mediators.