Mediation Bill, 2021 introduced in Rajya Sabha, sent for consideration into Standing Committee


New Delhi: Amid Opposition uproar, the Centre on Monday introduced the 'Mediation Bill, 2021' in Rajya Sabha to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation.

The government subsequently moved the Bill for further consideration into the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice on demand of the Opposition parties.

The Bill also seeks for resolution of disputes, commercial or otherwise, enforce mediated settlement agreements, provide for a body for the registration of mediators.

The purpose of the Bill is to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation an acceptable and cost-effective process.

On November 5 this year, the Ministry of Law and Justice released a draft of the 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 looks to cement 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 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 Section 2 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 provides that the Mediation Act, 2021 would apply to the mediation; or the mediation is international 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 Section 4.

The Bill defines a 'mediation service provider' as a body or organization that provides for the 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 centers annexed to courts have also been included under this head.

The Bill recognizes 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)

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