Nagpur: Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority & Main Mediation Monitoring Committee, High Court, Bombay and Mediation Monitoring Sub-Committee, Nagpur in co-ordination with District Legal Services Authority, Nagpur have organized a Regional Conference on 12th January, 2019 on the subject “Mediation: Capacity Building, Issues and Challenges”.
The Conference was inaugurated at the auspicious hands of Justice Naresh H. Patil, Chief Justice, High Court, Bombay & Patron-In-Chief, MSLSA at 10.25 A.M. at “Palacio Hall”, Hotel Centre Point, Ramdaspeth, Nagpur and Justice A.S.Oka, Justice B.R. Gavai, Justice R.V. More and Justice R.K. Deshpande grace occasion by sharing the dais.
Chief Justice Justice Naresh H. Patil, in his inaugural address said, the mandatory provision in CPC are more acquainted and on regular basis, we are implementing it in getting the matters referred for mediation. Today, the mandatory provisions are made applicable to the commercial disputes. In our country, the legislative enactments are slowly proceeding towards resolving the disputes amicably by mediation. There are other faster remedies of arbitration, Lok Adalat etc. and so forth and so on. Mainly, we are concentrating in this conference on the issues relating to early resolution of the disputes through mediation process. His Lordship further added, in rural areas it is difficult to convince the litigants that it is one of the instruments to resolve the disputes. However, in the cities we are enjoying the fruits of mediation process. If the matter is settled through mediation, both the parties are in a win-win situation. His Lordship said, the mediation is not new to our country and it is a traditional way to resolve the disputes amicably, which is here since the era of Mahabharat. If the litigants are required to pursue the matter years together, then they will have to spend many more years of their lives for getting resolved the dispute. Let us now reiterate again that there is Himilayan Pendency in the Courts having shortage of judges and infrastructure facilities. There is burden on the institution to deliver justice to the litigants. In this scenario, we are here to discuss and consider what best methods we can adopt to resolve the disputes and to answer the problems of the litigants, Courts have to come forward. In the present situation and the prevailing conditions, it is now necessary for us to adopt such methods and mediation is one of such methods all over the world. His Lordship appealed to the judicial officers that from their routine work of the trial, they should also concentrate as far as good cases should be referred for mediation, so that we can achieve better success rate. His Lordship also suggested that the lawyers and litigants should be convinced at least to try the mediation.
His Lordship Justice R.K. Deshpande, Senior Administrative Judge, Nagpur Bench, Nagpur, during welcome address said, the very purpose of this conference is to have healthy discussion on the three aspects i.e. area of commercial disputes, role of referral judges in selection of cases for mediation and code of conduct for the referral judges as well as the mediators. There will be three different working sessions in the conference. His Lordship also shared his experiences while practicing before elevation. His Lordship said, what is required is to settle the dispute at an early stage, which is better for the litigants and to the society in large.
With a view to encourage mediation activities, the best Referral Judge P.K. Agnihotri, Family Court, Nagpur, best trained Judge Mediator Parmar, Secretary, DLSA, Wardha and trained Advocate Mediator Mrs. Sharmila Charalwar were felicitated at the hands of dignitaries.
During first working session, Justice Abhay Oka, Justice R.K. Deshpande and Resource Person Tanu Mehta shared the dais. Resource Person Tanu Mehta, through Power Point Presentation, elaborated the importance of mediation process in respect of commercial disputes with the help of giving statistical data. She emphasized more on the provisions under Section 12-A of the Code of Civil Procedure, which provides pre-litigation mediation in the commercial disputes and also enlightened on the provisions under Section 89 of the Code, which are meant for mediation after filing of the proceeding.
During Open House, the queries and questions put-forth by the participants were satisfied by the dais.
Justice R.K. Deshpande sum up the first session.
During Second Session, Justice B.R. Gavai and Rajiv Patil, Resource Person & Designated Senior Advocate, Mumbai shared the dais. Justice Gavai emphasized on role of referral judges in mediation process and selection of cases, which are suitable for mediation. His Lordship also said, Judicial Officer has to apply his mind and decide which case is fit for mediation and which cannot be referred for mediation.
Resource Person Rajiv Patil has elaborately discussed about the role of referral judges in mediation by describing the stages of cases when those can be referred for mediation. According to him, ideal stage is as soon as there is service of summons, which is the best stage for mediation and there must be voluntary consent of the parties for referring the case for mediation. He also enlightened as to which cases are not fit to be referred for mediation i.e. involving serious bodily injury, rape, murder etc. as these cases may disturb the texture of the society.
Third working session commenced with the role play performed by staff members of Family Court, Nagpur. The theme of the role play was about the matrimonial dispute, in which there was love marriage between the spouses. Out of the wedlock, they were blessed with a daughter. However, after some years of happy cohabitation, a dispute arose between them due to some misunderstanding as the husband was residing out of the city for his job and not sparing time for his family. Mother in law of husband also used to instigate wife against the husband. Due to this situation, the wife started residing along with her parents. The matter came before the Family Court. Mediation process was taken up and the misunderstanding was washed out after some sittings and the couple went for cohabitation with smile on their faces.
During this session, Justice R.V. More and Resource Person Ajay Mehta graced the dais. Ajay Mehta shared his views on the subject ‘Code of Conduct and Ethics of Mediator’ by giving examples. He explained his experience that parties used to tell lie before the Court even after administering oath, but they tell truth before the mediator. Therefore, mediator should keep confidentiality during the entire process of mediation. According to him, mediator is a healer and mediation works as OPD of the Court. He described the virtues of the mediator i.e. impartiality, harmless, vigilant and he must maintain and assure integrity and neutrality. Moreover, the mediator should not establish personal or professional relationship with any of the parties.
Justice R.V. More summed up the topic by enlightening on the subject. His lordship emphasized that mediation is not there because of failure of the judiciary. If it is failure of the judiciary, then mediation could not have been successful in America and Singapore. The courts in India are unfortunately over burdened and lacs of cases are filed every year. Judiciary is not able to decide those cases. Judiciary is one of the important pillar of the democracy. We are not able to give decisions in most of the cases at the earliest because of huge pendency and lack of infrastructure. To overcome this, mediation movement was brought in picture. During open house, the dignitaries also answered the queries of the participants.
Justice Abhay Oka, Executive Chairman, MSLSA and Chairman, Main Mediation Monitoring Committee, High Court, Bombay has addressed the gathering by introducing a draft Mediation Scheme for District Courts, Taluka Courts and other Courts. His Lordship has given data about pendency of civil cases in Maharashtra. According to His Lordship, 11,90,877 civil cases are pending, out of which, out 6,93,000 are original civil suits, and there is no way in which we can dispose of these cases with the present number of judicial officers and infrastructure. His Lordship emphasized that participation of lawyers must be there while undergoing the mediation process. His Lordship also appealed the participants to send their suggestions and views in respect of the new Mediation Scheme being launched in near future.
kant Kulkarni, Member Secretary, Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority, Bombay extended vote of thanks at the end of the conference.
Principal District Judge, Nagpur Shashikant Savale and his colleague Judicial Officers exerted hard for the success of the conference.
V.B. Kulkarni, District Judge-2, Nagpur and his team arranged for the wide publicity of the event.